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Russian Federation: 30,000 cross to Ingushetia in 24 hours

Briefing notes

Russian Federation: 30,000 cross to Ingushetia in 24 hours

28 September 1999

Around 50,000 Chechens have fled to Ingushetia since the Russian aerial bombardment began this weekend and the number is climbing rapidly, according to Ingushetian authorities. Most of the Chechens are fleeing the capital, Grozny or surrounding villages.

In the past 24 hours an estimated 30,000 people have crossed into Ingushetia. Yesterday, most of the 20,000 displaced who had already reached Ingushetia had been able to find shelter with family or acquaintances but this capacity could quickly be outstripped. Only a few hundred people had reportedly stopped and sought assistance at the border.

Ingushetia has appealed in a letter to the United Nations for assistance, and UNHCR is in talks on aid with both local and federal officials.

With military activity concentrated on Chechnya and along its border with Dagestan, some of the 29,000 Dagestan displaced registered by the Regional Migration Service in Makhachkala and Buynaksk have been returning to their villages. No new fighting has been reported in areas where rebels battled Russian troops in August. UNHCR sent two convoys of relief supplies to Makhachkala earlier in the month.

There is no international aid presence in either Dagestan or Ingushetia, owing to the precarious security situation. UNHCR has local staff in Vladikavkaz and international staff in Stavropol.