MSF suspends its activities in Pankissi valley

MSF has suspended its activities in the valley of Pankissi, in the north-east area of Georgia, near the border with the Russian Federation (Chechnya) following the kidnapping of a CICR team on Friday August 4, 2000. Under the current circumstances, MSF believes the security conditions are insufficient for the four MSF volunteers who work and live in the valley. They returned to Tbilissi, the capital of Georgia, on Saturday August 5.

Since October 1999, MSF has given support to the 7,000 refugees who had been able to flee Chechnya - which was being bombarded by the Russian army - before the closing of the border by the Georgian authorities in December 1999. These Chechnyan refugees have been settled with residents of the Kistine valley and in schools or factories.

Over the past ten months, MSF medical care to this population has developed from emergency care to a more targeted assistance: 4,500 people were initially vaccinated. The team then set up a reference table for health concerns to assist in treatment courses that has benefited the entire population of the valley. Also, confronted with a population very traumatized by the war, the team opened a program of psychological support which deals with 125 children aged from six to 12 years.

Within the framework of the Chechnya conflict, MSF also works with the populations of Federation of Russia, in the Northern Caucasus.