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Ingushetia: UNHCR welcomes positive developments

Briefing notes

Ingushetia: UNHCR welcomes positive developments

24 February 2004

UNHCR welcomes positive developments in temporary settlements in Ingushetia that house internally displaced people from Chechnya. Utility services, including confirmed cuts to water and electricity supplies in addition to previously reported gas cuts, have been officially restored to some of the these settlements and no new cuts have been reported over the past three days. In some settlements, IDPs themselves have reconnected the supplies. UNHCR and NGO partners are now working with the authorities to ensure that the reconnected services respect fire and safety regulations.

UNHCR also welcomes the decision of Ingushetia's government to allow up to 800 IDPs to relocate to 140 rooms constructed by MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières]. UNHCR field monitors confirmed on 23 February that the rooms are rapidly being provided with stoves and gas connections. According to the Migration Department of Ingushetia, IDPs from the Sputnik tented camp who chose to remain in Ingushetia are the first to relocate to these rooms. By the evening of 23 February, 17 families totalling 97 persons had relocated to these rooms from Sputnik, where some 2,000 IDPs were registered as of mid-February. The Migration Department has also identified approximately 180 rooms in other temporary settlements. The availability of dry, warm rooms in temporary settlements in Ingushetia is crucial as alternative shelter for those IDPs not yet ready to return to Chechnya and offers the displaced a real choice on whether to go back or not.

Those who do volunteer to go back are provided by UNHCR with "box-tents" as temporary shelter while they rebuild their houses in Chechnya.