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Russian Federation

Bellamy pays tribute to victims of Beslan school siege

© UNICEF/HQ04-0716/Rudakov
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy lays flowers at a burial site for the victims of the Beslan school tragedy.
BESLAN, Russia, 12 October 2004 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy visited Beslan, Russia today to get a firsthand look at the impact of the recent school siege. An estimated 172 children lost their lives during the horrific tragedy.

Ms. Bellamy laid flowers at a burial site to pay tribute to the victims. Touring the ruins of School Number One, Ms. Bellamy was shocked by the scale of the damage. The crumbling walls and countless bullet holes brought home the sheer ferocity of the attack on the defenseless children.

© UNICEF/HQ04-0717/Rudakov
Ms. Bellamy examines the ruins of School Number One where the siege took place.
Ms. Bellamy then visited School Number Six, where the surviving students will be transferred.  There she met with students and teachers. Ms. Bellamy asked the schoolchildren how they would treat incoming transferred students from School Number One. All of the children replied with the same compassionate reply: They would treat them as friends, brothers and sisters – as their own. All present were touched by the unanimous response.

Traveling then to Vladikavkaz, she stopped at the Republican Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre. UNICEF is assisting the centre as part of its psychosocial support for the children of Beslan. At the centre, Ms. Bellamy watched as doctors and trained professionals used puppets in order to help the children cope with their emotions.

Ms. Bellamy also met with Alexander Dzasokhov, President of North Ossetia-Alania and Alina Sumartova-Levitskaya, Minister of Education. Representatives from local government were also present. Here, they discussed issues regarding additional UNICEF support, and the importance of promoting peace within the region.

Ms. Bellamy will return to Moscow on 12 October. She is expected to meet with President Putin shortly thereafter in order to personally express her condolences.



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