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Georgia: a busy month for the ICRC in western Georgia

16-09-2008 News Release 08/172

Geneva - During August and early September, ICRC delegates and field officers from the sub-delegation in Zugdidi visited the villages of Khurcha and Ganmukhuri almost daily to provide humanitarian assistance.

In addition to meeting regularly with representatives from the authorities and the Russian forces, the team distributed food to 690 residents and displaced families in Ganmukhuri, and to 150 residents in Khurcha. In addition, the ICRC distributed food and non-food items (blankets, buckets, hygiene kits and jerrycans) to 41 displaced families staying at two collective centres in Zugdidi. The organization also helped to restore the water supply and improve living conditions at these centres.

Acting in its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC escorted the Zugdidi health service ambulance to villages where security was poor, to ensure that people needing an ambulance could get to hospital.

The ICRC has been present in Georgia since 1992. Since the start of the conflict in early August, its operations have expanded significantly throughout the country. There are currently four delegates and 30 national staff working out of the Zugdidi sub-delegation. They are involved in protection, assistance, water and sanitation and health activities in an area stretching from Batumi to Mastia, and eastwards as far as Kutaisi.

" As we demonstrated in the Gori region shortly after the conflict started, the ICRC's team in western Georgia was also able to gain rapid access to people in need, and respond effectively with combined assistance, medical, water and protection activities, " says Simon Brooks, acting head of delegation for the ICRC in Tbilisi. " Our ability to gain and maintain access as soon as the fighting stopped to areas where humanitarian assistance was most needed meant that we could target our support appropriately from the start. "

  For further information, please contact:
  Jessica Barry, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 32 35 55 10 or +995 91 600 689 (mobile)
  David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Moscow, tel:+7 495 626 5426 or +7 906 708 4637 (mobile)
  Simon Schorno. ICRC Geneva, tel:+ 41 79 251 93 02
  Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Tskhinvali, tel:+7 928 230 0583