Humanitarian Crisis in Chechnya
After ten years
of war and turmoil, Chechnya is experiencing a protracted humanitarian
crisis of vast proportions that has largely gone unnoticed in the
West. Homes and infrastructure are destroyed, landmines and booby-traps
injure children on a daily basis and access to clean water is often
a problem, not to mention electricity or heat. Poverty is rampant;
according to the United Nations the vast majority of the population
is poor, and 63% have to survive on less than $20 a month. There is
hardly any adequate healthcare available for a population that suffers
greatly from tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, high infant
mortality and war-related disabilities as well as crippling post-traumatic
stress disorder. Schools are opening again all over Chechnya, but
are struggling to make do with bombed-out buildings, insufficient
teaching materials and the fact that many teachers have been killed
or have left Chechnya in search for safety.
Despite pledges from
the Russian government that reconstruction would rapidly bring improvements,
the situation on the ground has changed very little, and residents
report that financial compensation for destroyed homes is only available
after paying huge bribes.
Ongoing aid efforts:
there is a tenuous presence of international aid organizations.
The United Nations' humanitarian agencies and programs have been
active in the region for some years, although their access to Chechnya
has so far been limited by the persisting danger to aid workers
and difficulties with local authorities and the Russian government.
They are cooperating with international and local NGOs (non-governmental
organizations) such as Care or the International Rescue Committee.
In order to solicit support from donor nations such as the United
States and European countries, the UN publishes a so-called "Consolidated
Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP)" every year, outlining its activities,
partners and financial requirements. The 2004 CAP can be downloaded
The most recent CAP for 2005 is outlined and available for download
NGOs are using private, public and foundation grants to provide
crucial and often life-saving assistance to the people of Chechnya.
CAN urges its
members and visitors to help by making a donation to the North Caucasus
programs of the NGOs listed below or any others active in the region.
Maps detailing humanitarian aid activities
in Chechnya and Ingushetia:
How you can support humanitarian aid programs
The following US and international
NGOs accept donations for their work in Chechnya and Ingushetia:
Action Against Hunger:
Distribution of food and hygiene items to displaced people and local
population, with particular attention to babies and breast-feeding
Care International/Care Canada:
Psychosocial rehabilitation for traumatized children and youth,
education and vocational training. Helping drops-outs return to
school, to prevent them from joining armed groups.
Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe/Help-Germany:
Locally managed distribution of food and household goods to internally
displaced people and residents of Grozny. Co-funded by the EU's
humanitarian aid program ECHO.Go to www.allaboutgiving.org
to make tax-deductible donations from the US.
Hammer Forum Germany:
(in German only)
Providing healthcare for children, health education for mothers
and medical evacuation of sick and injured children to Germany.
(in German only)
Austrian NGO. Construction and improvement of refugee camps, providing
locally procured food aid, health care in refugee camps. Expanding
into the education sector by rehabilitating school buildings, offering
vocational training and setting up school feeding programs.
The International Rescue Committee:
One of the most experienced humanitarian and refugee aid organizations.
Rehabilitating the water and sanitation system, improving living
conditions in camps and temporary housing, providing psychosocial
programs for children and youth as well as formal and informal education.
UK-based charity with experience in Chechnya since 1995. Provides
food aid, health care and improvements to the sanitary conditions
in the IDP camps and prepares development projects in Chechnya.
Doctors without Borders:
Providing primary health care, child health care and reproductive
health care to IDPs and residents of Chechnya; treatment of tuberculosis
patients; psychosocial counseling. and public health education campaigns.
Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO):
In cooperation with UNICEF, PHO will provide clean water and water
purification technology, improvement of sanitation and trash collection.
Go to www.allaboutgiving.org
to make tax-deductible donations from the US (due to lower operational
costs, PHO can "stretch your dollars").
People in Need:
Award-winning humanitarian organization based in the Czech Republic;
active in Chechnya since 1999. Provides food aid, improvement of
shelters and housing, basic healthcare for IDPs, education, school
and hospital rehabilitation.
World Vision International:
Child-focused humanitarian aid organization. Provides basic health
care for IDPs and their children, including psychosocial counseling.
Operates a school-feeding program in the underserved mountain region
that provides hot meals to 16,000 schoolchildren. Support and repair
work for schools and kindergartens as well as school supplies.
Danish Refugee Council:
Strongest NGO presence in the region and main partner for the UN
agencies. Provides humanitarian support for IDPs and returnees,
as well as socio-economic reintegration programs and infrastructure
Medical Corps: www.imcworldwide.org/index.shtml
US-based NGO that specializes in strengthening local healthcare
institutions and training healthcare workers. Provides, through
local medical professionals, much needed healthcare to IDP mothers
and children and runs a tuberculosis program.
sans Frontieres (ESF):
Paris-based organization (literally "Studies without Borders")
was founded by French student volunteers to help students from Grozny
University study in France. Every year since 2003, a group of Chechen
students is selected and embarks on a course of advanced studies
at French universities and practical training, with the goal of
acquiring the skills needed to rebuild their war-torn society. A
volunteer-run organization, ESF is financed by foundations, companies
and private donors and asks for your help to continue its great