The United Nations is continuing to send much-needed assistance to the Georgian city of Gori, most of whose population has fled since the start of the conflict. Since the opening of a humanitarian corridor for the UN and other aid agencies, the UN Children’s Fund and the UN World Food Program have sent 15 tons of food, bottled water and hygiene kids for 400 families.
Sheldon Yett, who heads UNICEF’s team rushing supplies to Gori, described the city as a ghost town. Most of those remaining are the elderly who could not or were unwilling to leave their homes.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that humanitarian access has improved in recent days, with aid convoys passing though roadblocks and allowing assistance to reach previously inaccessible areas.
WFP said that it has supplied wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, high-energy biscuits and bread to over 120,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
UNHCR today delivered its first batch of supplies to western Georgia, with food for thousands of people being flown into the area while the agency will tomorrow distribute jerry cans, kitchen sets and blankets for more than 3,000 people.
For the first time, WFP aid has been delivered to western Georgia, to the Kaspi district and the town of Senaki, but delivery to the Akhalgori district adjacent to South Ossetia was called off because of people moving out of the area.
“I am impressed by the number of volunteers – young Georgians who show their deep solidarity with the displaced,” the High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said.
He appealed to the international community to contribute to the humanitarian aid effort under way in Georgia, given that UNHCR – which has six offices in the country – is in urgent need of funds to ensure that the newly displaced in the region receive help.