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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

02/15/2000

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Frozen Refugee Camps Short on Aid

SLEPTSOVSKAYA, Southern Russia -- The Sputnik refugee camp sprawls across a frozen wasteland, ragged tents filled with Chechen families standing next to muddy pits filled with human waste. People line up for days to get medical treatment. Each refugee gets just a half loaf of bread a day, and only occasionally flour, canned meat and other basic foods. ""People say they're bringing aid, but it never arrives,"" said Zora Estamirova, 52. She fled the Chechen capital of Grozny in September and ended up in the Sputnik camp in Ingushetia, just over the border from Chechnya. The war in Chechnya has forced some 250,000 people to flee their homes and their livelihoods, and now most are dependent on humanitarian aid. Yet the aid being provided is just a trickle compared with the help given to civilians during the last war in Chechnya, in 1994-96. Back then, international organizations worked in Grozny amid fierce street battles in which the ravaged city changed hands twice.

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