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Ingushetia: another big group evicted

Briefing notes

Ingushetia: another big group evicted

28 August 2001

Another large group of displaced persons from Chechnya has been evicted from their settlement in Ingushetia. Some 80 displaced persons, including women, children and elderly people, were left without shelter last week in Malgobek, Ingushetia, when the building they had been staying in was torn down. The group had been living at the site since 1999, but the building was bought by a new owner who wanted to set up a new structure on the site. UNHCR, in coordination with local authorities, provided 17 tents for the displaced people in a nearby settlement which had already been selected by UNHCR and the Ingushetia authorities for improvement work. Eighteen families have now moved into the new tents, and currently flooring and other facilities are being provided. UNHCR expects to provide tents to a few more families in this site in the coming days. Gas, electricity and sanitation facilities will be installed with support from UNHCR before winter.

This eviction comes just a week after a similar group of 100 persons was evicted from their settlement near Nazran. UNHCR is also aware of several other group settlements under immediate threat of eviction, including one building in the Nazran area which houses more than 120 people. UNHCR is concerned that these group evictions could be a new trend, as owners of the various spontaneous settlement sites realize that the displaced people will not be returning to Chechnya before the winter, and they will therefore remain in the sites for the third winter in a row. In an effort to avoid such evictions, UNHCR has provided a number of settlements with building materials to improve the facilities, which benefits both the displaced persons living there as well as the owner of the site.

Meanwhile, evictions of individual families from private accommodation also continue on an almost daily basis. Some evicted families are able to find other places to stay on their own. UNHCR also tries to help negotiate with host families or find alternative accommodation, particularly when vulnerable people are facing eviction. Alternative accommodation can be somewhat easier to identify for individuals than for the larger groups evicted at once.

UNHCR is continuing the winterization process to prepare for the third winter the displaced people will spend in Ingushetia. Some 20 settlements have been selected by UNHCR and the Ingushetia authorities for upgrading. Depending on the needs of each settlement, UNHCR, local authorities and NGOs provide shelter materials to upgrade the structures, make them easier to heat, and improve the flooring or roofing of the housing. Since last year, UNHCR has upgraded and winterized more than 60 settlemsents in Ingushetia. In all, Ingushetia continues to host some 150,000 displaced people from Chechnya.