Moscow, 4 November 1999 (RFE/RL) - With international concern
mounting about the humanitarian situation in Chechnya, Russia has
dispatched its emergencies minister to investigate. Sergei Shoigu was
ordered to go to the region today following talks yesterday in Moscow
between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Boris Yeltsin. The
United Nations refugee agency has also dispatched a mission to the North Caucasus to assess the plight of the Chechens.
Estimates say about 200,000 Chechens, out of a total population of about one million, have fled to neighboring Russian republics, while 200,000 others have left their homes but are still inside Chechnya.