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Chechnya: police told to provide security cover

Briefing notes

Chechnya: police told to provide security cover

21 December 1999

Police have been instructed by Russian authorities to provide security coverage to UN agencies working in North Caucasus, which should enable international staff to conduct frequent missions to the border area. The first convoy under the new arrangement will travel to Ingushetia either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

A senior UNHCR Emergency Officer is already in Stavropol to co-ordinate the operation. A UNHCR water and sanitation engineer will go to Ingushetia next week, and UNHCR has finalized an arrangement with the Danish Refugee Council to deliver and distribute relief assistance in Ingushetia.

A 17th aid convoy from Stavropol, comprising 29 trucks carrying 300 MT of food, 17,940 winter coats, 4,523 blankets and 1,720 mattresses, arrived in Nazran this morning.

The total number of IDPs registered by the Ingush Migration Service is now 248,399. Women and children represent 78% of the number.

According to Vladimir Kalamanov, Head of the Federal Migration Service, more than 50,000 IDPs had returned to Chechnya as of 15 December. Many went back to their areas of origin. He also said that only around 2,000 persons had left Grozny through the humanitarian corridors since they were opened. Yesterday, 500 persons left Grozny and a third safe passage was opened to Pervomayskoye village, in northern Chechnya. Kalamanov estimates that there are still some 30,000 civilians in Grozny. Meanwhile, heavy attacks on the Chechen capital by federal troops continue.

As of 20 December, UNHCR has received US$7.9 million in response to the inter-agency appeal.