Civilians remaining in Gori face “dire conditions,” World Vision warns, and safe access for aid workers into conflict zone is still a challenge. Meanwhile, children and families across the region cope with the horrors of war.
Updated: August 15, 2008
The first humanitarian assistance is on its way to Gori, a city ravaged by bombing during the recent conflict in Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The aid delivery is made possible by a coordinated effort between World Vision, the World Food Program, and the Georgian Ministry of Finance.
Photo ©2008 World Vision staff
World Vision has sent its first humanitarian assistance to people in Gori, a city ravaged by bombing during the recent conflict in Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia. We are providing the aid in coordination with the World Food Program and the Georgian Ministry of Finance.
The delivery consists of a 10-day supply of food for 1,000 people in Gori, a city that continues to be occupied by combatants. World Vision staff did not accompany the delivery for security reasons. Safe access for aid workers into conflict zones has remained a challenge since fighting escalated last week.
"Gori has been a no-go zone [for aid workers] since the conflict began, so we know those people who have remained are in dire conditions," said David Womble, World Vision's national director in Georgia. "We hope access will go smoothly, so we can increase the amount of urgent items we deliver to this conflict area."
Additional funding needed
As the number of people displaced by the conflict has increased to 115,000, World Vision is appealing for $2 million globally for its initial 90-day response in Georgia and North Ossetia.
Georgia's capital of Tbilisi continues to feel the impact of civilians fleeing south. In a recent 24-hour period, the number of official centers housing displaced civilians grew from 279 to 439, and displaced people registered with the government jumped from 20,000 to 50,000.
A tragic experience
On Thursday in Tbilisi, World Vision distributed 10-day food supplies to more than 1,000 homeless civilians in eight displacement centers. On Friday, we distributed food to more than 2,000 people in two additional centers.
Elza, a 32-year-old mother of two who fled to Tbilisi from South Ossetia, described the horrors of war she and her children witnessed: "A minivan was bombed in front of my eyes and my neighbors died there. Nobody could even bury them because we were afraid for our lives," she told World Vision staff.
Elza described how she was forced to leave her mother-in-law behind during her quick escape: "We could not reassure her to go with us, and now we are receiving terrible news that our house has been razed. She has likely died there," she said.
World Vision is also active in North Ossetia and is providing emergency medical supplies for the wounded and planning to open Child-Friendly Spaces
there to provide displaced children a safe place to play, re-establish a normal routine, and talk with trained counselors about what they have experienced.
Two ways you can help
>> Pray for peace in Georgia and for the children and families affected by the strife. Pray also for aid groups like World Vision whose teams are rushing relief supplies to the most vulnerable.
>> Donate now to help World Vision provide relief assistance to children and families who have been affected by the conflict in Georgia. Your gift will help us bring life-saving essentials like food and water to those who need it most.