Chechnya (September 1995)
by Humanitarian Practice Network September 1995

At the end of July, peace negotiations resumed in Grozny, conducted under the auspices of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

In early August, the Chechens and Russians began implementing their military accord providing for a cease-fire and exchange of prisoners in Chechnya, but hopes for peace experience a setback when the Chechen leader, Dudaev, fired the aide who negotiated the deal. The cease-fire is generally holding, despite sporadic firing. Large tracts of lands have been rendered inaccessible due to landmines.

Humanitarian aid has been mobilised for those displaced by the conflict principally to Daghestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia, but if current low levels of funding and donor indifference persist, continuation of emergency assistance to the displaced is unlikely to continue much beyond the end of 1995.

The ‘Update to the UN Consolidated Appeal for Chechnya’, launched on 17 July, highlighted a $5m shortfall for humanitarian needs and WFP estimate a further $2m will be needed for four months of winter stockpiles for the 118,000 most needy. Such stockpiles needed to be ready by mid-September to ensure that food procurement, transportation and distribution could be underway by 31 December when all UN activities will cease under the Updated Appeal.

Difficulties of access by humanitarian organisations to detainees held by the Chechen rebels compound the situation and make estimates of casualties and of the situation difficult. Local government food and cash assistance been exhausted and food reserves of most host families have all but dried up.

Unless the WFP pipeline is replenished, the food situation is likely to become extremely serious.

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