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Russian Federation / Northern Caucasus: Winter assistance for the residents of Grozny

13-12-2001 News Release 01/49

As civilians face their third winter of displacement in Chechnya and the northern Caucasus, the ICRC is pursuing its assistance programme for the most vulnerable, paying particular attention to their shelter and clothing needs so as to ensure that they are prepared to face harsh weather conditions in relative comfort and dignity. In Grozny alone, the ICRC, in cooperation with the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross, assists over 17,000 civilians. Moreover, each month the ICRC provides the elderly and disabled with 12 loaves of bread each, in addition to rations of oil, tea, sugar and soap. Since 1997 roughly 30,000 civilians have received such aid and in 2002 the ICRC plans to increase the number of beneficiaries in Grozny and other major urban centres to 50,000.

One of those who depend on ICRC assistance, a father of three who was displaced from his home in Grozny in 1999, is now unemployed and in poor health: " All my life I've lived in Grozny. Before the war we weren't too badly off. Because I'm an invalid I couldn't work very hard but I was able to do some business. Now that my house has been destroyed, I have no roof over my head and no work. I can't imagine how I'd survive without help. "

The ICRC, in close cooperation with the Russian Red Cross, has been heavily involved in providing a humanitarian response to the second conflict in Chechnya, primarily assisting victims in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Daghestan. Today the ICRC is the only international humanitarian organization with a permanent office in the Chechen capital, from which its 79 full-time staff assist civilians affected by the conflict. Across the northern Caucasus, over 350,0 00 people continue to receive food, hygiene items, shelter material and water from the ICRC and to benefit from the organization's protection activities.