–THOUSANDS OF CHECHENS FACE FOOD AID CUTOFF
United Press International reported on November 6 that nearly 250,000 people in Chechnya face a cutoff of United Nations food aid as the republic faces another bitterly cold winter and rising rates of tuberculosis. “Donor countries say the U.N. World Food Program has been too slow to update its approach,” UPI reported. “The agency says a highly vulnerable population now risks going hungry. There is evidence that Russia shares the blame.” The news agency quoted WFP officials as saying that while the agency can finance its efforts through the end of November, that with the program’s principal donor, the European Commission Humanitarian Organization, threatening to scale back aid, they may be forced to shut down the program for the second winter in a row. “Last year, at the height of the coldest winter recorded in Russia in 25 years, no food aid was distributed from November to March,” UPI reported. “Doctors working in the region have said malnutrition, persistent stress, unemployment and growing poverty combined to cause a tuberculosis outbreak in Chechnya. WFP is already assisting some 650 victims of the illness, though Mia Turner, a WFP spokeswoman based in Cairo, told UPI the stigma attached to tuberculosis could mean that many cases have gone unreported.” According to UPI, 2,600 metric tons of iron-enriched wheat flour from the U.S. Agency for International Development destined for Chechnya was not forwarded to the republic after arriving in St. Petersburg in September 2005 because Russian officials said iron levels in the wheat were too high, violating health standards. UP quoted a WFP spokesman, Robin Lodge, as saying that only now, after a year of waiting, has the agency resolved to divert the aid to Afghanistan.
–CHECHEN AND AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS BATTLE IN NICE, FRANCE
A fight between immigrants from Chechnya and North Africa in a suburb of Nice, France, resulted in the hospitalization of four North Africans, RIA Novosti reported on November 5, citing the newspaper Nice Matin. Following the incident, dozens of young North Africans gathered outside the apartment buildings where Chechen refugees live, threatening the Chechens and burning four cars. Police who were sent to the scene and dispersed the crowds using rubber bullets. RIA Novosti reported on November 7 that four people in masks had attacked a Chechen refugee in Nice the previous day, putting him in the hospital. Kavkazky Uzel reported on November 8 that 15 Chechens were detained by police after gunfire broke out in the neighborhood. Citing French media, the website on November 9 quoted a Nice deputy prosecutor, Michel Redon, as saying that the violence between the two immigrant communities was possibly connected to a dispute over “illegal activities.” Gazeta.ru, meanwhile, reported that 30 Chechen women had gathered in front of the Nice mayor’s office on November 8 to protest the fact that Chechens were being housed in dangerous residential areas. Around 300 hundred Chechen families live in Nice.
–624 CHECHEN INTERIOR MINISTRY EMPLOYEES KILLED SINCE 1999
Acting Chechen Interior Minister Sultan Satuev said during a meeting of mothers and widows of slain law-enforcement staff in Grozny on November 7 that the 624 employees of the republic’s Interior Ministry had been killed since the start of the “anti-terrorist” operation in 1999. According to Satuev, another 941 Interior Ministry staffers were wounded during that period.