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Western Georgia - ICRC Launches Assistance programme

24-05-2002 News Release

The ICRC and the Georgian authorities today signed a memorandum of understanding that formally launches a new assistance programme for 20'000 of the most vulnerable internally displaced persons and local residents in Western Georgia.

 

Tbilisi (ICRC) -  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Georgian authorities today signed a memorandum of understanding that formally launches a new assistance programme for 20'000 of the most vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) and local residents in Western Georgia (Samegrelo and Imereti) . The ICRC had stopped such assistance in the area in November 1995, but decided to resume aid after a survey in 2001 showed that these persons were facing enormous difficulties in meeting basic needs.

Under this memorandum of understanding, the Georgian Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation will ensure the identification of beneficiaries and distributions through local authorities. The ICRC will provide commodities for dry food distributions, resources for programme management and needs based monitoring of beneficiaries identified by the Ministries to confirm they require the assistance of the ICRC to meet basic and emergency food needs.

The programme will be implemented in two phases. A first distribution of 12,000 rations is due to start on 28 May 2002 to an initial caseload of destitute persons unable to rely on savings, assets, family support or income from work or agricultural activity. The IDPs among them were displaced during the Abkhaz conflict in 1993/4. The assistance will consist of wheat flour, beans, oil, salt and yeast (a total of 17 kg/parcel). The ICRC and the two Ministries will continue working together to ensure the accurate targeting of the most destitute for Phase 2 in autumn 2002.

According to Martin Amacher, ICRC acting Head of Delegation in Tbilisi, " in this situation of no war, no peace, there is no economic recovery and international development aid does not yet benefit destitute persons unable to participate in development programs. Ten years of such destitution have brought the most vulnerable in society down to a level where their very survival is at stake. The ICRC cannot meet all needs of the population, but we are helping the authorities to support the most basic social welfare coverage " .

During press conferences held in Geneva and Tbilisi, the ICRC also called on the international community to more strongly support economic development and humanitarian programmes in a part of the world for which obtaining international funding has become extremely problematic. The ICRC 2002 budget for Georgia amounts to 20,8 mio CHF.