Tbilisi, Georgia, February 10, 2009
- 18,000 being moved into hastily built settlements without running water, indoor toilets or adequate roofing
- Displaced families also face lack of health care, employment prospects
- World Vision repairing damaged buildings in former conflict areas and providing food, school books, blankets, hygiene kits, psychosocial support
— Six months after the brief conflict between Georgia and Russia, international aid agency World Vision warns that the 35,000 displaced people still face significant hurdles to rebuilding their lives. More than 18,000 internally displaced persons are being integrated into settlements built by the Georgian government, which World Vision says are inadequate for children and families. “Unfortunately for some, the term ‘integration’ means, ‘here’s your house, good luck, ’” said David Womble, World Vision’s national director in Georgia. “We're seeing many of these settlements already with problems—leaking roofs, moisture, no sanitation. These settlements are at risk of becoming ghettos. “World Vision supported the immediate needs of displaced people as they fled into Tbilisi back in August. We’ve seen them through a tough winter with food, clothing, and temporary shelter,” said Womble. “Now we want to see them through what may be the toughest period yet—starting new lives in government-built houses they have been resettled in.” Sopo*, 20, who moved into a government settlement with her husband and their four-month-old son, said the homes in the settlement have inadequate heaters, damp walls and no running water. Interviewed by World Vision staff, Sopo and her husband shared that they have no job prospects and survive on humanitarian aid. Womble confirmed that many displaced people are suffering from “increased depression, no prospects for employment and no access to health services.” Meanwhile, children in Georgia will finally start their school year this month with the help of World Vision, which is providing books as well as contributing to the repair of 11 school buildings. Additionally, each school will have a Child-Friendly Space where children can interact with peers in a safe, supervised environment when classes are not in session. The agency’s assistance also includes:
- The distribution of food supplies to some 26,300 conflict-affected persons living in Tbilisi and Gori in cooperation with the UN World Food Program, and will begin delivering food to those living in 11 of the 36 settlements next week;
- The delivery of 6,000 blankets and more than 5,000 hygiene kits to those displaced in Tbilisi and the conflict-affected areas;
- The winterization of 10 buildings in the Kaspi district to house those not able to return to their villages in the South Ossetia territory, including the installation of toilets and bathing facilities;
- Plans to help over 23,000 people in the Gori district care for their cows by providing 1,600 tons of feed and training farmers in cow de-worming.
ENDWorld Vision staff in Georgia are available for interviews. Contact Rachel Wolff at 253.394.2214 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Casey Calamusa at 206.310.5476 or email@example.com.
Note To Editor:
* Name has been changed to protect her identity.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org/press