Decisive Moments - The Caucasus, a place seldom seen

Decisive Moments - The Caucasus, a place seldom seen - Photographs by Marko Kokic/ICRC

Decisive Moments - The Caucasus, a place seldom seen - Photographs by Marko Kokic/ICRC

Reportage by Getty Images just published The Caucasus - A Place Seldom Seen, by ICRC staff photographer Marko Kokic.

Mr. Kokic's striking black and white photographs document life in South Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan and North Ossetia, regions where the ICRC has been active for years.

We don't hear much about the humanitarian situation of thousands of people affected by violence, insecurity and poverty in the Caucasus, much less see it, but life is grim for many.

Among the 30,000 people who live in South Ossetia, many of them are elderly, poor and vulnerable. They often live in deserted villages. The North Caucasus continues to be affected by violence, with frequent clashes between armed groups and Russian Federation authorities. In Ingushetia, hundreds of families displaced by past conflcits still live in derelict collective centers, too often with little or no economic opportunities. In Dagestan, Mr. Kokic met with families who have lost their breadwinner to armed violence. Many are extremely vulnerable and supported by the ICRC. Grozny, in the Chechen Republic, is undergoing a massive facelift but the long-lasting humanitarian consequences of past conflicts continue to be felt. The ICRC has documented over 2,300 cases of missing people but been able to provide very few answers to surviving families. 

Mr. Kokic says he chose to focus on the lives of the people we serve instead of our operations in the region, a luxury few photographers working for humanitarian agencies enjoy. The results are stark portraits of people living on the margins and trying to survive. They are hard to forget.