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Emergency action of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for the North Caucasus and the South of Russia (September 2001)

30-09-2001 Operational Update


Security situation inside Chechnya has forced the ICRC to significantly scale down its operations in the Republic since mid-September. The ICRC drastically reduced its vehicle fleet and temporarily limited the number of its administrative and operational staff members: about 25 of them remained in Grozny in order to keep the office running. The ICRC hopes to be able to resume its normal activities inside Chechnya as soon as its security concerns are alleviated. As for republics and regions surrounding Chechnya, the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross were able to continue humanitarian operations there.

Despite the difficulties, the ICRC has every intention to remain at the forefront of humanitarian action inside Chechnya and in the neighbouring republics. In September the ICRC staff both in Moscow and in Nalchik was busy planning activities in the region for 2002, hammering out an action plan and a budget, which should be soon communicated to the donor community. Besides, a further evaluation of needs in IDP (internally displaced persons) collective centres in Ingushetia (primarily in non-food items) for the coming winter has been carried out.

A real highlight against the background of these security and practical concerns was the launching of a puppet show in the framework of the mine awareness programme in Chechnya. The boy Cheerdig, the main character of the play, addressed to young children, is out to find magic water that will allow him to cure his ailing grandmother. During his quest, he faces all kind of dangers in the form of landmines and unexploded ordnance but his friends help him to avoid the worst. This play, already staged in Ingushetia and shown to Chechen children in IDP camps and to those staying in sanatoria in the North Caucasus, will now be performed in Chechnya.

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