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Archivio Emma Bonino commissario UE
IP/95/96 - 2 febbraio 1995


Brussels, 2 February 1995


The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has earmarked another five million Ecus to be spent on emergency aid for the people of Chechnya. The grant, to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Chechnya, an Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation, includes support for actions that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams have already established. MSF has bases in the neighbouring autonomous republics of Daghistan and Ingushetia, and its teams visit Chechnya when the situation permits.

MSF-France and MSF-Belgium are cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help the war wounded as well as displaced people over the next six months. The ICRC is also coordinating the operations of national Red Cross societies. Part of the five million Ecu will be spent on medical supplies, especially surgical supplies for the MSF teams. There will also be further grants for shelter and food through the Red Cross Societies of Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. The Commission is now acting in response to appeals that Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations working in the area made last week.

The MSF teams currently involve work on both sides of the fighting. Other non-governmental organisations may get involved at a later stage when it is clear they can deliver aid effectively.

Last Wednesday, the Commission announced a first major ECHO grant for Chechnya, also of five million Ecu, as a quick response to the appeal that the ICRC submitted on behalf of the committee and national Red Cross societies. This was for food, basic medical supplies, shelter and clothing during the worst of the winter. At the end of December, ECHO granted 310,000 Ecu for ICRC's first action, and that helped to pay for plastic sheeting for emergency shelters.

The Commission is ready to make further grants to help victims of the fighting in Chechnya once it has carried out a needs assessment mission with the ICRC. Some 250,000 people have sought refuge outside Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, according to an ICRC estimate. A further 200,000 have fled to neighbouring Daghistan and Ingushetia. There are currently about 5,000 people suffering war wounds.

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