GEORGIA CARE distributes essential supplies

TBILISI, GEORGIA (August 12, 2008) – CARE International in the Caucasus, in cooperation with other humanitarian agencies, is continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of people displaced by the violent conflict between Georgia and Russia. The immediate needs of the affected populations include beds, food, water and sanitation.

"The situation is dire and people are desperate to find safety for themselves and their families. CARE calls on all parties to allow humanitarian organizations safe access to people in need of assistance," said David Gazashvili, CARE's emergency deputy director who is in Georgia during this conflict.

More than 10,000 people, most from South Ossetia, are already registered in the different IDP (internally displaced persons) locations in Tbilisi and nearby cities. The figure is expected to increase by another 5,000 during the upcoming days and reach perhaps 40,000.

Most of the affected people fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs. A 71-year-old woman from the village Artsavi in the Tskhinvali Region told CARE staff this is the second time her life has been traumatically disrupted.

“First, I fled from Tskhinvali 18 years ago and became a person displaced in my own country; and during all these years, I was living with my relatives. Now, they became displaced along with me. I lost my home for the second time now,” she said.

CARE mounted an emergency response immediately and is continuing to assess the scope of the crisis. The needs assessment team is cooperating closely with the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation (MRA), Tbilisi mayor and local government representatives to identify the exact number of IDPs as well as specific needs at IDP locations.

As a result of immediate action, CARE was able to distribute essentials such as drinking water, food (including buckwheat, rice, cereal, vegetable oil, bread, pasta, salt, canned food, macaroni, sugar tea); baby food and supplies (milk powder, porridge, and diapers); and non-food hygiene items (soap, toilet paper, waste bags, women’s sanitary items, basins, and towels) to 170 people in Tbilisi and 500 people in Rustavi.

CARE has mobilized its resources and efforts to address the problems of people left homeless not only in Tbilisi and nearby cities, but to reach displaced people further west, in the Borjomi district. On August 12, CARE’s Akhaltsikhe field office joined in the needs assessment process, along with officials from Borjomi municipality. An estimated 1,000 people are already relocated in the city.

“We realise it will be necessary to support people devastated by this conflict beyond the immediate emergency. Thus, it is crucially important to mount a strategy for long-term response, which will enable these people to live in dignity and peace,” said Jonathan Puddifoot, CARE Country Director in Georgia.

For more information, please contact CARE office in Tbilisi:
74a, I. Chavchavadze ave. Tbilisi, 0162, Georgia.
Tel: (995 32) 291941
Fax: (995 32) 294307

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities.