Support to children affected by the conflict in and around South Ossetia – response inside the Russian Federation

Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Russian Federation, 19 August - UNICEF is to extend its existing programme of collaboration with the local authorities in the North Caucasus to ensure support for children and families displaced and traumatised by events in South Ossetia. About 30,000 people sought refuge in North Ossetia, many of whom are women and children.

UNICEF’s support role for the local authorities follows the large-scale emergency response in the immediate aftermath of the conflict by Russian federal and local authorities, the Russian Red Cross and other local actors. This response covers urgent needs for shelter, food, clean water and medical supplies.

“With the school year in Russia starting in just over two weeks, on 1 September, there is an urgent need to ensure these children don’t miss out on school and to give them a sense of normality,” says head of UNICEF office in the North Caucasus, Rashed Mustafa.

Reinforcing UNICEF’s various support activities in the field of education, UNICEF is preparing to equip the displaced children with essential school supplies, including schoolbags, pens, pencils, school diaries and exercise books

UNICEF has also been asked to contribute to improving the living conditions of displaced children temporarily accommodated in public institutions in North Ossetia and other regions of North Caucasus where displaced children will be relocated. UNICEF will be providing sets of bedroom furniture (beds, bedside tables), mattresses, and bed linen and may in some cases help with renovation of boarding schools.

Another component of UNICEF’s programme in the North Caucasus is psychosocial rehabilitation, implemented since 2004. Mr Mustafa said: “We have significant experience in this field following an extensive psychosocial recovery programme in the aftermath of the Beslan school siege.” Specialists in this field will now conduct a rapid assessment of the psychological state of children and women from South Ossetia, to identify the most effective ways to help them.

These actions were agreed between Mr Mustafa, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Nationalities, and the Head of the External Relations Department of the Government of North Ossetia, who welcomed UNICEF’s offer of support.


For more information contact UNICEF Communications Officer Andrei Muchnik at: or +7 928 796 6133.