Ingushetia: camp Bart officially closed
The camp of Bart - one of three tented camps for Chechens in Ingushetia, located near the town of Karabulak in Ingushetia - was officially closed on March 1. Bart was the first tented camp to be built in Ingushetia for Chechen IDPs. According to the Ingushetia Migration Department, by late 1999 there were nearly 6,000 people living there. As of 29 February 2004, only 315 persons remained there. The closure of Bart went smoothly. Alternative shelter was offered in temporary settlements in Ingushetia for those not yet willing to return to Chechnya. According to Danish Refugee Council, which looked after the camp, 244 returned to Chechnya while 71 people went to temporary settlements in Ingushetia. With the authorities now issuing in the camps notifications of eligibility for government compensation for destroyed houses and lost property in Chechnya, it is expected that more will opt for return to Chechnya. The two remaining tented camps, Satsita and Sputnik, still house nearly 4,500 people.
The availability of alternative shelter in Ingushetia remains crucial to ensure the voluntariness of returns to Chechnya. Alternative shelter available in Ingushetia could now accommodate some 230 families totalling approximately 1,000 persons, including 144 rooms constructed by MSF-France and vacant rooms in temporary settlements. There are over 200 temporary settlements in Ingushetia. IDPs from Sputnik, the next tented camp to be closed by the authorities, were the first offered to relocate to the MSF-constructed rooms. The first 143 persons moved there last week.
The situation in temporary settlements is calm. Following UNHCR/UN intervention with both local and federal authorities, no new cuts of the gas supply were reported.
As of 2 March 2004, a total of 63,578 internally displaced persons from Chechnya were registered for assistance in Ingushetia.