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"Action by Churches Together" mission:  North Caucasus (1999-2000)

The work of the Action by Churches Together mission

The Action by Churches Together interchurch program has resumed its work in Northern Caucasus in December 1999. Just as the previous program of 1995/99, of which the Newsletter informed its readers on a regular basis, it has been implemented by Russian Orthodox Church together with the Hungarian Interchurch Aid. Its task is to render emergency aid to the displaced people from Chechnya who have found shelter in the neighboring regions of the Russian Federation.

The program of aid to the Chechen people who lived in the armed conflict zone and had to leave their homes in search of a shelter in neighboring regions including Northern Ossetia, Ingushetia and the Stavropol region began in Northern Caucasus in December 1999. This program has been implemented jointly by Russian Orthodox Church and the Hungarian Church Aid with support of Christian churches and church humanitarian agencies in other countries. It has as its task to give first of all food aid to the least protected resettlers, such as women, children and old people who have found themselves far from their homes sometimes without any means of subsistence.

The staff of the program has been engaged in the monthly distribution of food packages and baby food among resettlers in the Stavropol region, Northern Ossetia and Ingushetia. It is in these three regions that the overwhelming majority of the displaced people from Chechnya have concentrated, namely, 150.000 in Ingushetia, 27.000 in the Stavropol region and 15.000 in Northern Ossetia. The large cities where the displaced are concentrated, including Mozdok in Northern Ossetia and Mineralnye Vody and Pyatigorsk in the Stavropol region have been chosen as the distribution points. In Ingushetia the distribution of aid has been carried out in tent camps for the IDPs. The food packages which have been distributed to the IDPs include 1 kg of flour, 1 liter of vegetable oil, 1 kg of sugar, 1 kg of buckwheat, 1 kg of macaronis, 1 tin of condensed milk, 1 packet of tea, and 1 kg of baby food.

For the three months of the program's work, the following amount of food has been distributed:

  • 12.000 packages in the Stravropol region;
  • 5.000 packages in Northern Ossetia;
  • 20.000 packages in Ingushetia
It is important to note that with the end of active operations in Chechnya the IDPs have tended to move, especially from Ingushetia and the South of Chechnya to the tent camps and villages in the North of the Chechen Republic. Therefor the staff of the Action by Churches Together mission is negotiating with the local authorities, the EMERCOM and the Federal Migration Service in Russia on the appointment of the regions which are to be chosen for a second stage of the program.

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