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Chechnya: flow continues in both directions

Briefing notes

Chechnya: flow continues in both directions

11 January 2000

UNHCR's relief operation in the Northern Caucasus continues. The larger scale humanitarian effort and the return to Russian-controlled parts of Chechnya have somewhat improved the situation on the ground in Ingushetia. In conversations with UNHCR staff on the ground, Russian officials say a "humanitarian disaster" in Ingushetia has been prevented. The republic now hosts between 150,000 and 180,000 displaced people from Chechnya after an estimated 70,000 people have gone back. But conditions remain difficult and a sizeable number of people are expected to spend the winter in Ingushetia. UNHCR and its partner agencies are now working on longer term sanitary arrangements, buying water tankers and sewage pumps, digging more wells and latrines. This morning, the 21st UNHCR convoy reached Ingushetia's capital Nazran from Stavropol.

The flow of people across the Chechen-Ingush border continues in both directions. Those going back to Chechnya to stay now outnumber those leaving.

But while the situation in Ingushetia slowly improves, UNHCR continues to be extremely concerned about the fate of up to 20,000 or more civilians trapped in Grozny for months and unable to flee.