During the Georgian-Russian conflict in August 2008, the economies of villages in Shida Kartli Rayon (province) were devastated. Most people could not collect their harvests and some could not even enter their land due the threat of unexploded ordinances. Nearly 5000 IDPs and returnees had to start their lives from the beginning.
The non-governmental humanitarian organization MERCY CORPS, funded by USAID/OFDA rendered assistance to the effected population from four sakrebulos (sub-districts) in Shida Kartli: Shavshvebi, Karaleti, Mejvriskhevi and Variani.
Project: “Assistance to IDPs and Returnees to Gori District”.
Project Timeframe: October 2008 – March 2009
Projects for IDPs from Collective Centers in Gori and New Settlements:
Georgian Traditional Ovens: This project constructed traditional Georgian ovens for communal use in four settlements.
New Settlement Number of Households Population Number of Bakeries Number of Bakeries per household
Berbuki 134 451 14 1 Bakery/10 Households
Skra 86 297 10 1 Bakery/9 Household
Khurvaleti 139 437 12 1 Bakery/11 Household
Shavshvebi 177 587 12 1 Bakery/14 Household
Non-food Item Program
Nearly 5000 IDPs from 20 collective centers and 3 new settlements (Metekhi, Shavshvebi and Khurvaleti) in the Gori district received winter clothing, footwear and bed-linen as part of Mercy Corps’ non-food item distribution program. The following is an account from one such person:
Aliona Nukradze – IDP from village Charebi
Before arising Georgian-Russian conflict our life ran as usual. I was raising two children. We were cattle breeders and had a little farm. We always hoped that the tensions between Georgians and Ossetians would ease, though at all times there was the threat of war. In our village, next to Ossetian villages, we saw armed separatists manning their posts every day. We had long since become accustomed to the sound of shooting. It got bad enough 3-4 years ago that we left our house for several days and went to my uncle’s place in Rustavi. When we returned the situation had stabilized somewhat, though it was still tense.
At the beginning of August, 2008 we observed some unusual activity on the Ossetian posts, but we did not pay that much attention. Though during a week we noticed, that the situation got more and more tense, so the population moved to the forest and hid in old abandoned houses there. On the 8th of August even those houses came under fire and we were forced to flee with only what we could carry. Several our neighbors were killed. Others were wounded. We spent three days in the forest with no food. Then we walked to Gori, arriving after two days. Gori was also occupied by Russian troops, and IDPs from there moved to Tbilisi, where they stayed in a camp town.
After two weeks the local government placed us in Gori kindergarten buildings and different governmental and non-governmental organizations supplied us with food, hygienic supplies and first aid materials. We hade no information about our relatives, we did not know whether they were alive or not. During the three month we lived in this Gori collective center. At the beginning of December 2008, we were allocated to a cottage, specially constructed for IDPs, in the Kaspi Region village of Metekhi.
That’s where we are now. The living conditions are good here, but we have no food supply, no furniture, or clothing. We need everything, as we are starting life from the beginning. We do have shelter and look at the future with hope. We hope everything will be alright.
As part of its work with IDPs and returnees Mercy Corps implemented a program specifically aimed at extra-vulnerable individuals (EVIs). Based on the needs of the communities and the work being done by other organizations, Mercy Corps decided to focus on two groups of EVIs – the elderly and people with disabilities. After identifying people through consultations with local officials And previously formed community initiative groups, Mercy Corps staff visited the identified individuals and took requests for items that their condition required. The
involved communities were the new settlements of Skra, Berbuki, Shavshvebi, Khurvaleti, Karaleti and the existing sakrebulos of Shavshvebi, Karaleti and Variani.
A total of 293 people were included in the distribution, approximately 38 percent of them children under fifteen years old. Their items were delivered at the end of March 2009. The items delivered were as follows:
Adult Diapers 1150
Blood Pressure Monitoring Devise 166
Walking Sticks 38
Orthopedic Mattresses 38
Pairs of Crutches 6
Hearing Aids 34
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