TITLE=UNHCR / CHECHNYA REFUGEES (L-ONLY)
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
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.
22-Oct-1999 10:14 AM EDT (22-Oct-1999 1414 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list