Pray for our work with Chechen refugees
|“We will intentionally reach out in service and ministry to people of every generation, within all races and cultures.”|
A TEAM of Salvation Army members and volunteers in Russia have traveled from the southern city of Rostov-on-Don to the Ingushetia Republic to provide humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Chechnya.
As Russian military forces continue to bombard Grozny, capital of the breakaway Republic of Cechnya, thousands of Chechens are fleeing into neighboring Ingushetia. Over 300,000 Chechens, mostly women and children, have fled into this small northern Caucus republic. Here, they are free from the bombing and shelling, but find that there is little food or protection from the harsh winter weather.
As a result of the history of violence against foreigners in these war-affected regions, international aid groups have been slow to respond to the needs of these suffering people. Feeling compelled to do something to help, a group of Salvationists traveled from Rostov-on-Don to Ingushetia’s administrative center of Nazran to distribute food and clothing. Led by Captain Geoff Ryan, The Salvation Army’s Regional Officer for Southern Russia, the group has purchased some limited supplies with private donations from supporters in North America and the United Kingdom.
In recognition of the growing number of refugees and the life-threatening conditions they face, Colonel Kenneth Baillie, Officer Commanding, Russia/-CIS, requested assistance from The Salvation Army’s International Head-quarters in London. In response to this request, the International Emergency Services office dispatched Operations Officer Janetta Korotkova Nuttall to conduct a formal needs assessment survey, in cooperation with the regional officer.
Ryan and Nuttall recently visited a number of camps and settlements in Ingushetia, accompanied by Mr. Kharon Deniev of the Danish Refugee Council and, due to the volatile situation, two bodyguards equipped with AK-47s.
The subsequent assessment survey highlighted the most pressing needs and recommend a response plan by The Salvation Army. This includes a three-month assistance program targeted toward the 10,000 refugees in the Nazran area of Ingushetia. Aid would include primary health care, feeding and winter clothing.
According to Ryan, The Army has a considerable and widespread presence in the Russia South Region and has all the necessary resources and contacts to assist in Ingushetia if funded to assist in this present crisis.