September 01, 2005

Moscow Increases Beslan Aid

State Increases Aid for Beslan Families:

A year after the terrorist attack on School No. 1 in Beslan, financial aid is continuing to pour into the North Ossetian town.

The government agreed Wednesday to allocate an additional 11.6 million rubles ($400,000) for victims of the attack last September, which left 331 hostages dead, including 186 children, news agencies reported.

The additional assistance will supplement 70.7 million rubles ($2.4 million) of government aid already allocated to families. The additional payment was needed on account of a previous miscalculation of people eligible.

It was not clear how the government plans to distribute the additional funds.

With Beslan attracting much international attention, the village has also received a large amount of assistance from private donors and charities.

Over the past year, over 1 billion rubles ($35 million) in aid has been donated privately, distributed by a special commission in Beslan.

Of those funds, the commission has paid 1 million rubles ($35,000) to compensate the loss of a family member in the tragedy, while 700,000 rubles ($24,400) has being paid to those seriously injured. Those who survived unhurt received 350,000 rubles.

Other private donations included $1,000 per family from power monopoly Unified Energy Systems, as well as 1,000 euros from Belarus, Rossiskaya Gazeta reported.

In addition to the recorded figures, some donations went directly into unmonitored bank accounts set up for victims by charities including Russian Aid Foundation.

In August, a new school was completed to replace School No. 1, which was destroyed in the attack.

The victims of Beslan have received much more than families of those killed in other terrorist attacks. State compensation for victims of two planes brought down by suicide attacks days before Beslan amounted to 100,000 rubles ($3,400).

Despite the large sums directed to Beslan, aid agencies argue the need for assistance remains acute.

None of the victims is in need of a piece of bread, said Tatyana Klenitskaya, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Russia. "But you can't say that people are not in need of money."

The tragedy left behind 107 orphans, some as young as 2 years old, who will need to be provided for many years to come, she said. Klenitskaya also cited the high costs of long-term medical and psychological treatment.

However, the issue is leading to resentment among residents who have not benefited from the influx of aid, she added. "There are men in Beslan who are unemployed, who have no money for food and who are jealous of those who received money," she said.

As a result of the influx of money, property prices have soared in the town of 30,000 residents.

Posted by Kyer at September 1, 2005 12:20 PM | TrackBack