"The most vulnerable are more greatly affected by this disaster but fortunately, they are our primary target in a current feeding program and continue to receive American Red Cross assistance," said Ramsey Rayyis, Russia's head of regional delegation for the American Red Cross in Moscow.
Already pushed into financial distress as a result of the Russian economic reform policies begun in 1991 after the breakup of the Soviet Union
, vulnerable populations such as single mothers, multi-children households, the elderly, the disabled and children, bore the brunt of the suffering.Government-run institutions such as orphanages and hospitals also suffered, and many, struggling to operate on as little 30 percent of necessary budgets, were unable to provide the most basic needs.
Relief organizations including the Russian Red Cross were also affected by the economic situation and could do little to ease the suffering of people who were malnourished, susceptible to disease and in need of more help than ever before.
The American Red Cross
distribution -- completed with the assistance of the Russian Red Cross -- became the organization's largest feeding project worldwide.