August 31, 2006: Beslan - Two Years On
A child who experienced the horror of the Beslan school siege remembers her fallen friends with flowers placed in bottles of water.
Official Commemoration Events
Official events to commemorate the second anniversary of the Beslan tragedy will take place on 1-3 September in North Ossetia.
- During all three days the mourning music will be heard and candles will be alight.
- In the morning of 1 September, wreaths will be laid at the school gymnasium – the place of the tragedy.
- On the same day, a monument devoted to the soldiers of Special Forces who died while saving the children will be officially opened in the memorial cemetery of Beslan.
- On 2 September, a concert of symphony orchestra directed by Ramon Toreldo of Spain will take place in the Palace of Culture in Beslan.
- On 3 September at 13:05 – the time when the storm started –, a minute of silence will be dedicated to those who lost their lives throughout the republic.
- On 3 September, a concert-requiem entitled ‘Beslan – Two Years On’ will be held at the republican stadium in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia. Big stars and distinguished guests will participate in the concert, which is considered as a musical-dramatic address to all people of Russia, a reminder of the tragedy, which unfolded in a small Ossetian town two years ago.
- The Committee of the Mothers of Beslan (those whose children perished during the crisis) made an official request to preserve the ruins of the school gymnasium unchanged ‘Each corner and each wall which witnessed the events of those horrible days should be preserved’ – and build a church using the bricks of the destroyed school next to it.
UNICEF-supported Commemoration Event
- On 31 August, UNICEF as part its Emotional Rehabilitation Project, will conduct a commemoration event entitled ‘Thank You to All Who Helped Beslan to Live through Grief’. The main objective of the event is to give the crisis affected children and their family members the opportunity to express their gratitude to those who helped them in their hour of critical need.
- During the last year, the children, together with their parents and teachers, have been collecting information for the ‘Thank you…’ book, which contains thank you letters and compositions addressed to different people from all over the world (and will be published by UNICEF in the end of 2006).
- For the commemoration event, it was decided to produce awards in the forms of plastic medals each bearing an inscription ‘To A Good Man/Woman From The Children Of Beslan’. The ceremony of presentation of the medals will be accompanied with quotes from the letters in the book.
- An exhibition of art works prepared by the children of Beslan (drawings and clay works) will be opened during the commemoration event and will be on display in the new Beslan school, which replaced the destroyed school number one.
General Information on UNICEF’s response
- Medical supplies: Delivery of essential medical (consumables, equipment, drugs) and non-food items to the hospitals treating child survivors. During the week following the dramatic end of the hostage crisis UNICEF delivered some 20 tons of emergency medical items to hospitals in Beslan and Vladikavkaz. In addition last year UNICEF provided medical equipment and furniture to the Beslan Hospital. WHAT
- School Equipment: Support to equip six Beslan schools to receive children from School Number One and to the two new Beslan schools. Increasing the capacity of these schools to accommodate children from School Number One, while making the schools as attractive and welcoming as possible to help children overcome their fears and their reluctance to attend school.
- Psychological Counseling: Since October 2004 UNICEF has provided qualified psychological rehabilitation to the survivors and affected children through UNICEF-supported Rehabilitation Centre in Vladikavkaz.
- Family Centre: In March 2006, UNICEF with the Ministry of Education and Science of North Ossetia opened a Family Centre BINONTÆ in order to strength the family’s capacity to ensure a protective environment for the psychologically affected children and reduce the effects of long-term psychological trauma resulting from the crisis in Beslan.
- Emotional rehabilitation: Since September 2005, 600 children, parents and teachers with emotional problems have been involved in the ‘Thank You to All Who Helped Beslan to Live through Grief’ project which is based on such elements as art lessons, games, theatre, history and traditions. A mobile exhibition of the children’s art works as well as the ‘Thank You...” book, have been prepared by the children, parents and teachers of Beslan, who want to express their gratitude to all who provided support in the aftermath of the tragedy.
- Photographic Exhibition: On the first anniversary UNICEF organised a photographic training and exhibition for twelve children from Beslan town. This proved to be a cathartic experience for all and allowed them a completely different perspective, through art and the eye of a camera, on the tragedy that had befallen them and their community. The exhibition has since been displayed in other venues in Russia and will travel internationally.
The water bottles have been left in the school gymnasium by many grieving relatives and visitors in memory of the victims who were unable to drink throughout the three days of the tragedy.
BESLAN SCHOOL SIEGE - CASUALTIES
Number of hostages affected by the crisis: 1,123
Number of child hostages: 777
Death toll: 331
Child deaths: 186
Total number of injured people: 783