TITLE=UNHCR / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY)
INTRO: The U-N Refugee Agency says Chechen refugees
are fleeing into neighboring Ingushetia at the rate of
about four-thousand a day. Lisa Schlein in Geneva
reports the U-N-H-C-R says it is alarmed about the
humanitarian crisis in Chechnya.
TEXT: Nearly 20-thousand people have fled from
Chechnya to Ingushetia since the Russians relaxed
border controls last Wednesday, according to the U-N
Refugee Agency. At the same time, several thousand
have crossed back into Chechnya to collect family
members who were left behind.
U-N-H-C-R Spokesman, Kris Janowski, says the Russians
transported several-hundred Chechen refugees in
Ingushetia to areas controlled by the Russian troops
in Northern Chechnya.
/// JANOWSKI ACT ///
They are mostly taking ethnic Russians back who
fled together with everyone else. And, they are
taking these people voluntarily. I mean, this
is not a forced return. These people want to go
back to areas controlled by the Russian troops.
/// OPT /// But, they are mostly ethnic Russians
as far as we know. And, we are talking here,
very small numbers. They took 400-people
yesterday (Monday). Earlier on at some point,
they took a couple hundred as well. So, it is
not a very large movement. /// End opt ///
/// END ACT ///
The U-N Agency estimates more than 200-thousand
Chechens have fled to Ingushetia. Most of these
people are staying with Ingush families, but about 21-
thousand refugees are living in tented camps or
Mr. Janowski says this number is likely to increase.
He says the humanitarian situation in Ingushetia is
reaching crisis proportions. He says the houses of
Ingush families hosting refugees are overcrowded and
they badly need food and clothing. Furthermore, he
notes thousands of people living in tents and railway
cars are going to have a very difficult time during
the coming harsh winter.
Mr. Janowski says the Refugee Agency is gravely
concerned about the situation of civilians in
Chechnya. He says there are reports of increasing
civilian casualties as a result of the Russian
/// 2ND JANOWSKI ACT ///
What is going on in Chechnya is anybody's guess.
Considering the amount of hardware (i.e. heavy
weapons) that is being used there at the moment,
from the air and from the ground and so on and
so forth, there certainly are casualties. And
there may be people who may be cut off from the
outside world and not even having the luxury of
being able to flee.
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Janowski calls the North Caucuses region a "no-go"
area for international aid workers. No foreign aid
workers are present in Chechnya and Ingushetia because
of security concerns. Several humanitarian workers
have been kidnapped, held hostage, and killed.
09-Nov-1999 09:30 AM EDT (09-Nov-1999 1430 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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