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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

10/23/1999

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Refugees Are 'Suffocating' Ingushetia

Some of the refugees who have been pouring into Ingushetia from Chechnya by the thousands are living in their cars or in straw huts. The lucky ones have been taken in by local families - with some families literally putting up hundreds of refugees - and Ingush officials worry that the republic may have to close its schools to give more refugees a warm place to sleep. The refugees have severely strained the infrastructure of Ingushetia, one of Russia's most impoverished regions, and officials warned Friday of an impending catastrophe as winter approaches. The number of Chechens who have arrived in the past month was 163,712 as of Friday, with 3,000 of them having crossed the border since Thursday and more on the way, Ingush officials said. Ingushetia told the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that it fears the number could swell to 300,000 if the Russian military campaign continues, a UN spokesman in Geneva said Friday. That would practically double the population of the North Caucasus republic.

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