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UNICEF responds to immediate needs of displaced children and women in Georgia

© UNICEF Georgia/2008/Nikolaishvili
Children like those shown here, taking shelter at a kindergarten in Tbilisi, represent 40 per cent of the total population displaced as a result of the conflict in and around South Ossetia, Georgia.

More aid is on its way to support thousands of displaced families

TBILISI, 14 August 2008 – UNICEF and its partners have distributed hygiene kits and bottled water to 3,600 displaced women and children in and around the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

UNICEF and other international humanitarian agencies are currently conducting rapid assessments to identify the scale of problems and the most pressing needs of affected people, including children.

Most of the displaced persons in Georgia have been accommodated in 170 temporary facilities such as kindergartens, schools, public and governmental buildings. However, most of the facilities lack basic conditions such as toilets, potable water and electricity.

“The building is under renovation, however, we had no other place to go. There is no electricity here, no potable water, no food. We have no beds to sleep on. Most of us are in despair, we are really lost,” says Eka Gogiashvili, a 34-year-old mother of three children, who is currently living in a former clinic building in Tbilisi.

Yesterday, the Georgian Government started the registration of displaced people in Georgia . However, the process is proceeding slowly and has resulted in the appearance of long queues of affected people.

UNICEF, in coordination with other humanitarian agencies, is currently concentrating its efforts on delivering nutritional supplies for children and hygiene items as well as is trying to provide affected populations with drinking water and access to sanitary facilities. One hundred tarpaulins, five hundred hygiene kits and supplies of blankets and other items are now being distributed.

In addition, 500 school-in-a-box kits, 500 recreational kits, 600 basic family water kits, 3,000 emergency drinking water kits, 5,000 packs of water purification tablets, 30 water tanks for 10,000, 5,000 and 1,500 liters, 1,250 jerry-cans and 18 water distribution ramps are en route to Tbilisi from UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen. The aid will be sufficient to satisfy the short term needs of approximately 6,000 affected families.

“We need to resume normal childhood activities for children and to ensure that protection mechanisms and health standards are in place for them," said Benjamin Perks, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Georgia. UNICEF is also planning to support psycho-social services for internally displaced children and to ensure that children have access to education when schools re-open in September.

So far, the estimated total number of persons displaced throughout the region as a result of the conflict totals nearly 100,000 people, according to UNHCR. This figure includes 60,000 children and women.

For further information, please contact:

Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer
UNICEF Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 23 23 88, 25 11 30
Mob: (995 99) 53 30 71






Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Georgia, Benjamin Parks, discusses the aid effort for people displaced in Georgia and Russia.

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