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DATE=10/22/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=UNHCR / CHECHNYA REFUGEES (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255364 BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United Nations Refugee Agency says the humanitarian situation in southern Russia for tens of thousands of Chechen refugees in Ingushetia is growing worse. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the agency says it is afraid the situation there could become a disaster. TEXT: The government of Ingushetia estimates more than 160-thousand refugees have fled the fighting and shelling in Chechnya. U-N-H-C-R spokesman Kris Janowski says there is growing concern about the humanitarian situation. He says authorities in Ingushetia expect the number of refugees to double if the Russian military offensive in Chechnya continues. /// JANOWSKI ACT /// If it continues and if the gloomy predictions of the Ingush authorities of 300-thousand people crossing come true, we'll have a bit of a disaster on our hands. /// END ACT /// Mr. Janowski says international aid agencies are very limited in what they can do to help the refugees. He says none of these agencies are actually in Ingushetia or Chechnya because of security risks. Over the past few years, several humanitarian workers in Chechnya and neighboring regions have been taken hostage. Some have been killed. Mr. Janowski says most of the aid for Chechen refugees will have to come from the Russians. /// OPT /// He says the U-N Refugee agency and other United Nations and private aid agencies can only provide, what he calls, remote control assistance (i.e. assistance that the U-N supplies from a distance). /// END OPT /// He says a fourth convoy of relief supplies is leaving for Ingushetia on Friday. /// ACT JANOWSKI /// This is just a drop in the bucket in an ocean of need. These convoys, of course, are helpful and take a while to organize. They all run from Stavropol, where it takes a while to put them together. They are extremely costly. A convoy like the one we are putting together costs 240- thousand U-S dollars. So, it's quite costly. /// END ACT /// /// OPT /// The convoy consists of 12, 20-ton trucks. Its cargo includes food, blankets, plastic sheeting, stoves and water tanks. /// END OPT /// Mr. Janowski says shelter is a problem, especially with the onset of winter. He says more than seven- thousand Chechen refugees are living in tents. Another five-thousand are in wagons and dilapidated buildings. The rest are sheltering with local people. (Signed) NEB/LS/GE/LTD/JO 22-Oct-1999 10:14 AM EDT (22-Oct-1999 1414 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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