Following the recent terrorist siege at a local school in Beslan, North Ossetia, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the local government are continuing efforts to help neighbors in the region.
Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in the North Caucasus area and in the church’s Euro-Asia region are bringing various forms of aid.
Survivors, their families, and families of the 331 people that died in the attacks will benefit from a community center that will assist with the psychological and social rehabilitation of the affected population. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency announced Sept. 29 it is participating in the effort.
The one-year project will provide post-trauma training for teachers of Beslan schools and center volunteers, rehabilitative programs for children and adults directly and indirectly affected by the hostage drama, a crisis hotline, concerts, camps for children, and home visitation to affected families.
“We hope this project will help the people of Beslan to overcome the terrible shock and stress of this day,” said Heriberto Muller, regional vice-president of ADRA’s Euro-Asia region.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church [in the] North Caucasus [region] is doing everything possible to comfort people of Beslan and help in this situation. It is the most important work of the Church at present moment,” added Pastor Alexey Plakhota, local Adventist church president.
Sept. 22 to 23, a delegation that included Muller, V. Zgeria, ADRA assistant; and Plakhota visited Beslan and met with Vladimir Khodov, regional government administrator, the mayor of Beslan, the Beslan hospital’s chief physician, and the minister of Labor and Social Protection for the regional government.
Church leaders and local officials discussed providing rehabilitation assistance to teachers at eight Beslan schools and their pupils as a long-term program.
“Most help has been on a one-time basis,” Khodov told the delegation, adding that continuing aid is needed. He said the government would provide “the best buildings” and other necessary support for such programs.
Also on Sept. 29, Vasily Stoliar, president of the Church in West Russia, was due to be among a delegation of religious leaders who will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow to discuss “Religious Terrorism and Extremism.”