MSF maintains suspension of activities in North Caucasus
22 August 2002
Geneva - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to maintain the suspension of its activities in Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan. The decision to suspend had been taken by MSF following the abduction of Arjan Erkel, MSF's head of mission in Dagestan, as well as of Nina Davidovitch, responsible of Druzhbah, a Russian NGO in Chechnya. MSF still has no information regarding Arjan Erkel, Head of Mission in Dagestan, abducted on August 12th, in Makhachkala. MSF remains concerned about Arjan's fate and asks for his immediate and unconditional release. MSF operations in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya are therefore put on hold until further notice. In order to keep contact with the population and closely follow the evolution of the situation, all MSF offices in Makhachkala, Khazaviurt and Nazran remain open. MSF provides health care to thousands of persons through mobile clinics in Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan, with special attention to mother and child care. Some programmes are also specifically dedicated to the improvement of shelter, water and sanitation conditions in the area. Furthermore, MSF provides drugs and medical material to various health structures in Chechnya. MSF employs nearly 200 national staff and over 20 international staff in the region. MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides medical and humanitarian assistance to victims of war, conflicts and disasters. This assistance is given without political, religious or ethnic discrimination. MSF is independent and is mainly funded by public donations from the 18 countries where it has representative offices.