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Russian Federation / Northern Caucasus: ICRC conducts three surveys in Grozny

11-05-2000 News Release 00/17

During the second half of April a team of four local ICRC staff conducted three consecutive surveys in Grozny to assess the scale of needs for both medical care and water and sanitation. Another mission is currently under way.

The situation for the population of Grozny appears to be very difficult owing to insufficient food and medical supplies. A considerable number of former inhabitants, especially women, who left Grozny during the fighting are nevertheless making short trips to the city to find out more about living conditions there. The severe shortage of drinking water due to the destruction of vital facilities seems to be the most serious problem. With the approaching summer and rise in temperatures, epidemics are feared. Pumping Station 1, which until last October was maintained with the support of the ICRC and supplied 20,000 inhabitants with clean water, is today practically inoperable since the system connecting it to the city's water-distribution network has been destroyed.

In the medical sphere, the ICRC team visited seven hospitals that have just recently started functioning again though with great difficulty owing to the lack of essential medicines and the absence of running water and electricity. The ICRC furnished them with basic supplies.

Meanwhile, on 1 May the ICRC bread programme resumed production and daily distribution to some 3,500 particularly vulnerable people in the main Chechen towns after a six-month suspension due to the fighting.

In addition, the home-visiting nurses programme, run by the local branch of the Russian Red Cross with ICRC support, has also started again with some 48 nurses caring for el derly, handicapped and other isolated people, most of whom are facing immense hardship.