Members of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress discussed the work of the WAC during the pandemic.

Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress, held the sixth meeting of the Supreme Council on Friday July 3.  The meeting was held online: Council members got in touch with the Sukhum office of the WAC from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Cherkessk, Nalchik, Stavropol, Adjara, Jordan, Istanbul and Sakaria. The agenda was a discussion of the work of the World Abaza Congress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the start of the work, all the participants were welcomed by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov.

Then the Executive Secretary of the WAC, Inar Gitsba, told about the work of the Congress during the pandemic. He noted that, on behalf of the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, Mussa Exekov, the World Abaza Congress was actively involved in protecting the population of Abkhazia from coronavirus infection.

“Since the introduction of the state of emergency in Abkhazia, the WAC has completely switched to work to protect the health of the country's residents. So, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov purchased and delivered to Abkhazia the medical equipment and personal protective equipment needed in the fight against coronavirus. Medical equipment was purchased according to the list provided by the operational headquarters for the protection of the population under the Ministry of Health of Abkhazia,” said Gitsba.

He also said that the Congress team has established active cooperation with the Interdepartmental Operational Headquarters, with the charity organization “Kiaraz” and the public information center “Adgylara”.

Together with the “Kiaraz” staff, the WAC team provided socially vulnerable families with food during quarantine. The members of the WAC Youth Council as volunteers helped local authorities, informed the population about the prevention of the virus, and helped older people.  Spokesperson for the WAC web information portal, Said Bargandzhia, became a member of the Interdepartmental Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Health of Abkhazia for the fight against coronavirus and helped to inform about the work of the headquarters. Izolda Khagba, the portal chief editor, sewed protective masks for distribution to everyone.

All this time, the WAC was also in constant contact with the Moscow Abkhaz Diaspora.

“In view of the fact that the funds [for assisting Abkhazia] were publicly raised, it was necessary to organize extremely open informational support for the activities of the MAD Headquarters. The responsibility for this direction on a volunteer basis was assumed by the Head of the Women's Councils of the WAC Geta Ardzinba. Every day, publications were compiled and issued (infographics + subtitles),” Gitsba added to his report.

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He added that the WAC also provided assistance to repatriate families in need of food in conditions of self-isolation. This is a total of 126 people.

Simultaneously with all these events, Congress continued to implement a number of projects jointly with local branches in the localities of Abkhazia.

“One of such projects was the concept of landscaping the park in the village of Adzyubzha. The team of the World Abaza Congress and a group of philanthropists [also] assist the family of a young teacher from the village of Baslakhu, Ochamchira region, in building a house. On May 21, the World Abaza Congress paid tribute to the victims of the Caucasian War by lighting the traditional Abkhaz candle of Aschamaka and the Nart bonfire on the seashore.  The World Abaza Congress organized and held a number of festive events for children from the villages of Atara, Pakuash, Reka, Baslakhu, Akuaskya and Gup,” Inar Gitsba said.

The head of the WAC web information portal, Amina Lazba, in turn, said that for the period of the pandemic, the portal changed the broadcasting format to exclusively news. All this time, materials on the current situation in Abkhazia regarding the spread of coronavirus infection and the protection of the population have been published on the website and on all the social pages of the WAC infoportal.

“Thus, compatriots around the world have the opportunity to get the latest news about all measures taken to combat COVID-19 in Abkhazia in the languages ​​available to them. Also, statistics on the number of patients with coronavirus in the Caucasus and Abkhazia, including on a daily basis, are accumulated on the website of the WAC infoportal website,” said Lazba.

Despite the pandemic, a new language project “We Speak Abkhazian / We Speak Abaza” was launched on the Congress portal.  Amina Lazba said that within the framework of this online project, representatives of the Abaza people can begin to study their native language, regardless of their place of residence in the world.  At the meeting, the report of the Central Auditing Commission of the World Abaza Congress for the past year was presented.  It was voiced by the head of the ANO “Alashara” in Cherkessk and the chairman of the Central Auditing Commission of the Congress Murat Mukov.  He reported in detail for the period from May 2018 to May 2020.

Mukov noted that the financial and economic activities of the Congress were carried out through donations and annual contributions from members of the Congress. The amount of voluntary donations amounted to 47 million 220 thousand rubles, the amount of membership fees amounted to 33 thousand rubles.

“In conclusion, the revision committee concluded that the results of the financial and economic activities of the Congress can be considered satisfactory. Violations that could affect the stability of the organization have not been established. It was recommended that the accounting department of the Congress work on the comments and provide the audit committee with information on the plan of measures to improve financial discipline,” Murat Mukov reported.

Ramazan Mkhtse, member of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress, vice-president of the “Alashara” Autonomous Non-Profit Organization, spoke about the work carried out by the members of the WAC branches in the KChR, as well as members of the ANO “Alashara” team.

He noted that “Alashara’s” employees began active cooperation with the leadership of the Republic, the Parliament, the Ministry of Health, the heads of Abaza rural settlements, the chief physicians of polyclinics, hospitals and feldsher-obstetric centers of the Abaza localities.

The forces of the “Alashara” team, activists of the Coordinating Women's Council of the Abaza villages, “Apsadgyl”, feldsher-obstetric centers of the Abaza localities collected information relevant to June 3, 2020, on the number of patients with coronavirus and the number of necessary medicines and medical equipment for Abaza rural settlements.

100 socially vulnerable families from among those infected with coronavirus were taken by Mussa Ekzekov for personal guardianship. The Chairman of the SC WAC also helped the KChR hospitals with the necessary medicines and equipment.

“The central clinic of the Abazinsky district, as well as 10 medical institutions operating in the Abaza villages of Karachay-Cherkessia, received the necessary medicines, equipment, devices, personal protective equipment and disinfectants. In addition, he (Ekzekov - ed.) also purchased and sent from St. Petersburg to the KChR two ventilators, which were transferred to the Ministry of Health of the KChR,” Mkhtse said.

A member of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress from Adjara, Natalie Lazba, briefly said that more than two thousand Abkhazians, representing more than 55 Abkhaz families, live in Adjara today. According to her, Adjara has been declared a “green zone”, so there are no cases of coronavirus infection registered there. A member of the SC WAC explained that all registered cases in Adjara were transit ones, they were immediately isolated, thereby avoiding an outbreak.

Vladimir Pshenokov, a member of the Supreme Council of the WAC, head of the Congress Department in the KBR, in turn, informed meeting participants about the epidemic situation in Kabardino-Balkaria.  He explained that the situation so far “remains difficult, but there is hope that by the end of the summer it will stabilize.”

According to him, the WAC branch of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic during the pandemic helped the poor. There were also lists of cases transmitted to the Ministry of Health of the KBR.

At the end of these reports, Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, noted that it is necessary to think over steps aimed at informing the public in the event of new challenges and threats. He explained this by the fact that correct and timely information was not enough, and this could help, in particular, to avoid an outbreak of coronavirus infection in Cherkessk.  Ekzekov also expressed hope that the next meeting would be held “personally”, since everyone “miss each other, and, of course, live communication is irreplaceable”.

Meetings of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress are held regularly. The previous meeting was held on October 16, 2019 in Sukhum and was aimed at summing up the intermediate results of the Congress, as well as discussing plans for the future, including plans for international activities.