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Russian Federation/Northern Caucasus: ICRC surveys continue in Chechnya

13-04-2000 News Release 00/13

A team comprising four local ICRC employees and one Russian Red Cross staff member carried out a further two-day assessment mission last week in Gudermes, the second largest town in Chechnya and the new base for the republic's authorities. Official sources estimate the town's population at 80,000, compared with 100,000 before the current crisis. The humanitarian situation appeared stable, with some 1,500 internally displaced persons registered and nearly 4,000 particularly vulnerable persons (such as invalids, handicapped children, and solitary elderly people)  identified.

According to information gathered by the Red Cross team in its meetings with the local and regional administrations and with medical authorities, the most pressing needs in terms of food, water, other basic necessities and sanitation are in the south-west and south-east of the republic, the regions hardest hit by the conflict. The general health situation remains serious even though the main regional hospitals, with the exception of those in Grozny and Shatoy, have started working again.

Discussions took place on ways to reactivate the bread distribution and visiting nurses programmes run by the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross in the main towns in the republic.

Basic ICRC medical assistance was provided to the 300-bed main referral hospital in the Gudermes region. While this structure was not damaged during fighting, it is in need of rehabilitation since it has not been adequately maintained for several years.

This week, a follow-up mission took place in Achkhoy-Martan, west of Grozny, during which the ICRC delivered medical assistance to the main h ospital, in particular to treat an increasing number of typhoid cases.