Displaced Georgian Families Face An Uncertain Future After Conflict
Madrid, Spain—Pasha Pakeliana, 63, lives in Georgia’s Kodori Valley in Abkhazia and is no stranger to hardship. Like her fellow Georgians, this is not the first time she and her family have had to flee their homes as a result of conflict. "We live in Abkhazia but I know that if I return, I’ll never be able to leave again," states Pasha who now sleeps on a mattress on the floor, in very poor hygienic conditions, in one of the shelters of Kutaisi, west of Georgia.
Of the 160,000 people displaced by the Georgian conflict, most of whom hail from the war-torn regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, an estimated 20,000 will remain in host cities for months, unable to return to their homes. In addition to poor hygienic conditions in the shelters, food is scarce and expensive. "In Tbilisi, it has been reported that the price of staple foods such as flour or sugar continues to rise," says Vincent Stehli, desk officer for Action Against Hunger in Caucasus. To combat these conditions, the humanitarian aid organization Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has launched an emergency intervention in the capital.
In the coming months, ACF will distribute food and hygiene material to more than 2,000 families like Pasha’s who have relocated to Tbilisi and Kutaisi, in addition to rehabilitating sanitation facilities in several centers.
The organization will distribute hygiene materials and food to 1,500 families housed in 27 centers in the city. In Kutaisi and other cities in the west of the country, where assistance is most scarce, the organization will distribute hygiene products to roughly one thousand displaced families and rehabilitate sanitation for many of the reception centers over the next six months.
Action Against Hunger has worked in the region of South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) since 1995, undertaking water and sanitation projects and working to improve food security. Its team of 78 staff members (eight international and 70 national staff) working in Georgia were reinforced by personnel from ACF’s emergency pool, which traveled from Madrid to Kutaisi last week to support and assess the needs of the population. Emergency efforts are made possible by the financing of Obra Social Caja Madrid and the Catalan Cooperació al Desenvolupament (ACCD).