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Russian Federation / Northern Caucasus: Red Cross medical assistance in Chechnya

21-10-1999 News Release 99/42

Continuing hostilities in Chechnya have caused a growing number of people to seek shelter outside the republic and Grozny has now been deserted by about one third of its population. Among those who remain behind, many are simply too old, sick or disabled to flee.

The local Red Cross home-visiting nurses programme, which has been assisting more than 700 vulnerable people in Chechnya for nearly three years, has thus become more crucial than ever. Working jointly with local Red Cross volunteers, local ICRC staff are continuing to run this programme and a programme that has been regularly providing bread for about 8,000 people in the capital.

Red Cross staff in Chechnya are also monitoring the needs of medical facilities, which are treating a growing number of war-wounded. Well over a hundred patients have recently been registered in the main hospitals, which rely on ICRC emergency medical equipment and medicines. Last week, the ICRC sent enough supplies to Grozny to care for about 1,000 war-wounded.

Since Grozny has been without electricity for the past 10 days, ICRC-supported pumping station No 1, which had been providing 20,000 inhabitants with clean water until the latest violence, has become the sole source of drinking water in many parts of the city and even in nearby villages, where it is carried in by trucks.