Check this page for updates from our grantee partners In Georgia and read Global Fund's solidarity letter to them:
From Nina Tsihistavi, Caucasus Women's Network, Tbilisi, Georgia
August 26, 2008
Hope you are O.K.
During these war days (from august 8 to today) we called also to our colleagues from several ngos and united our efforts in collecting things and bringing then to compact centers. we started from 1 university 'Black See University' and 2 secondary schools, than we changed our destination and for last 8 days we concentrated on Isani District former military hospital buildings (there are 7 buildings on the hospital territory and 2,500 IDPs). The territory is a little bit far/isolated from living hoses, at the same time the hospital buildings were locked for last 5 years and that's why the condition of elementary basic needs is mostly hard for people there.
In total i am trying to make coordination of 6 NGOs from our office (daily morning planed meetings, fulfillment of a day plans, late evening meetings here for assessment of what was done what are barriers, how to overcome). before a wave of IDPs we have organised process of NGO statements, women's peace street actions, women's statement to russian soldiers mothers, (i can attach files if needed) women's statement to UN SC, ) but after receiving IDPs we changed our task: collecting everything for even some groups of IDPs, (we are going to restaurants, asking to give some damaged dishware, houseware, mobilising Tbilisi children in helping to collect from neighbor families anything, and 4 times a day are providing all things to compact centers.
At the same time we elaborated a questionnaire that is relevant to collect information from civilians damage related to European HR Conventions concrete articles. we are collecting cases for European HR Court against Russia. We organised wheelchairs for disabled IDP peoples at Isani Hospital, 1 for 7 years old boy and 2 for elderly,we took 82 children (3 buses) to 3 restaurants, they offered them a dinner,also we organised their visit to central church "Sameba' in tbilisi. hope to hear from you,
From Alla Gamakharia of Fund Sukhumi, based in Kutaisi, a town in Georgia on the border with Abkhazia:
August 15, 2008
Dear Friends and Partners,
We keep on informing you about the situation in our region.
It is very difficult to find words to express our gratitude for your support, participation, solidarity, anxiety and activeness.
Please do apologize for my late replies to your letters, appeals.
Internet has worked terribly. It works for an hour early in the morning and for the rest of the day there is no connection. Also telephones lines have been overloaded or do not work because of damages. But nevertheless we have received some letters. Now the situation seems a little bit better.
Last days, since Monday, were crazy, but despite the complicated situation our women are up to the mark. People in the city have been afraid of bombing. An airport in Kopitnari was bombed. Many people have left the city and went in nearby villages. They have taken their children out of the city. But our employees have been at work since the first call.
We have worked as headquarters staff. We have planned our goals and tasks in this situation anew.We work from the morning till 10 p.m. in the evening. Our press-centre writes replies to the letters. Everyone wants to know the situation.
Our mobile groups have visited collective centres, municipalities. They have made lists of “new refugees”.
- We have established contacts with authorities, coordinated our activities;
- Made advertisements on radio and TV in order to help people orient in the situation, not to be lost;
- Collected humanitarian aid, bought living essentials for women and children;
- Psychologist has rendered psychological consultations. It is extremely necessary now;
- Donated blood;
- Helped people in headquarters where they officially registered people, and distributed aid.
I would like to say that today people are rendered assistance only through donations of organisations, enterprises and common people personally. All roads leading to Kutaisi are blocked by Russian militaries.
One wants to cry and to be happy simultaneously when he or she sees two queues – one consisting of people who bring their clothes and food, locals, and the other, consisting of people who stand to take something, “new refugees”.
The city is “standing on its foot”, everyone wants to help. I have not seen such union of people for long time. Everything is functioning, cars are moving. It seems like nothing is happening, but faces of people are completely another, there is so much pain in their eyes.
Russian troops and tanks are very close to Kutaisi and nothing blocks their way to the city.
No one knows what they are going to do, what kind of “peaceful action” they want to carry out. Yesterday Russian planes were frying over Senaki again. Russian army is standing everywhere in Poti. All ships were exploded in the sea port. Refugees are coming to the city, what means that there is much more work to do.
We tell everyone about your support. It is very important for people to know that they are not alone, they are supported and there is someone who works to stop this horror. Now we are preparing an extreme issue of the bulletin “Women’s Voice”, publishing letters of support. There will be many materials with the stories of witnesses of this tragedy. We are starting work with children. They can not understand what is going on, why they do not have toys. Women have neurosis. It is very difficult to work. Tomorrow at 12 p.m. everyone is gathering in the Bagrat temple for public prayer. We embrace all of you and thank you very much for support once again.
August 14, 2008
Dear partners, colleagues! We would like to greet you and, first of all, thank you for assistance you render to us in this difficult time. We, in fact, did not think that we – citizens of Georgia would again experience the same that we had experienced 14-15 years ago – again military operations, again feeling of fear, danger of leaving own houses.
But, it seems that political thinking of Russian politicians is run through imperial spirit. Since August 6, the territories of Georgia have been bombed: Tskhinvali, Gori, Senaki, Poti, Marneuli, Lagodekhi, Bolnisi, Khelvachauri, villages of Zugdidi, Oni, Khobi, Kareli, Gori. Upper Abkhazia, airport of Kopitnari surroundings of Tbilisi has also been attacked. The bombs were also exploded almost in all regions of Georgia – and in conflict zone and the areas, far from it.
Except of strategic, political, economical, military units, the apartment houses have been destroyed and burnt. Hundreds of soldiers and many peaceful citizens were killed. The exact death-roll is not yet clear, but in accordance with the information of witnesses the number of died is much more, than stated officially.
Hundreds of solders and peaceful citizens are wounded. The witnesses talk about horrible stories on cruelty and ruthlessness of war.
Thousands of people have left their houses in Gori, Senaki, Zugdidi, Poti, Upper Abkhazia and have become IDPs. According to the spread information, the number of IDPs exceed forty thousand.
Despite the agreement on ceasefire, Russia continues aggressive military politics in relation to Georgia; there is still threat, Russian militaries patrol in Gori, Zugdidi and nearby Poti. The number of killed, wounded and IDPs increases hour by hour. They started marauding. The road connecting Eastern and Western Georgia is still closed. It is impossible to move and deliver humanitarian aid to indigent people in Western Georgia.
In spite of the fact that the situation is extremely strained peaceful manifestations and actions of protest with claim of ending aggression of Russia have been held in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and other cities of the world.
We, the members of Fund “Sukhumi”, are well aware of what a war and being an IDP means. Working on peacemaking for 11 years we tried to increase women’s role in peacemaking in order to avoid new conflicts and wars. it is men’s policy that led us to new bloodshed. Unfortunately we – women, despite all our efforts, could not avoid conflict. This proves once more the necessity of women’s participation at decision making level. Now we have started practical actions. We try to help people, who as a result of war have had to come in Kutaisi from the cities and villages of Western Georgia, also Gori and Tskhinvali. Today there are more than one thousand people and we are waiting for more three thousand.
- We visit them to their locations
- Fix their needs by means of survey
- Render psycho-rehabilitation assistance
- Donate blood for wounded
- Collect clothes, food and goods of primary necessities for IDPs
- Make advertisements on radio and TV about necessity of registration of IDPs, about collection of humanitarian aid for IDPs from population
- Our representative is in Kutaisi branch on IDPs and accommodation, she also works on collecting data about IDPs who have already come to Kutaisi
- We have close contacts with state structures of authorities which work on the issues of IDPs.
We receive letters with the information about events in the zone of conflict. We express our deep condolences to all families of killed and wounded people. We hope that this insanity will end soon and people will live in peace.
August 13, 2008
Dear Angelika and our friends in Global Fund for Women!
Thank you very much for countenance and solidarity. We, the women IDPs from Abkhazia, have again experienced the horrors of war after 15 years. Today, is the first day without bombing. The whole staff of Fund “Sukhumi” is actively involved in all activities.
During these horrible days new flow of IDPs were coming from Western Georgia, from the borders of Abkhazia, where fights were going on. Our women have donated blood, selected humanitarian assistance, since many IDPs are without own things, any hygienic means. At the moment, we are working on data base on a new flow of IDPs in Kutaisi and Western Georgia.
Unfortunately, women could not stop bloodshed and again, difficulties of war lay on their arms. Again and again they are mourning over their relatives, died during these days.
Yesterday, two buses, from Tbilisi to Zugdidi, with peaceful citizens were bombarded. Only some people survived. In Kutaisi, all hospitals are crowded with wounded people. Majority of them are peaceful citizens. Women are in terrible situation, they need support. Unfortunately, the war has not yet been stopped.
We trust in God and support from all of you.
From Nana Pantsulaia of Women's Fund In Georgia:
August 12, 2008
On Friday, 8 August 2008 a war broke out in Georgia’s one of the conflict zones – South Ossetia. Very soon, Russian responded to the situation by taking military actions against Georgia in the conflict zone and far beyond it.
Since then, in spite of various international agencies’ as well as western state officials’ statements concerning the situation in Georgia, Russian troops started to intensively attack and bomb not only the conflict zone itself, but also most of the regions of Georgia – villages, towns, ports, airports, military bases, another conflict zone of Georgia and the capital city – Tbilisi. So far, Russian air forces continue to bomb Tbilisi strategic targets, including the nearby area to the international airport. In Gori (big town near the conflict zone) a large number of peaceful civilians were dead and badly injured after the bombing – most of them women, children and the elderly. The bombing still continues in Gori and many villages around it.
Even though Russia denies hitting civilian targets, there are dead and injured all over the country. As for the informational sources, the Russian government controlls the media, widely spreads misinformation and claims to be implementing peacekeeping activities in the conflict zones. As for the diplomatic missions in Georgia, they are evacuating their citizens as the situation is getting more and more dangerous.
Due to this severe situation, many people continue to flee conflict zones and the regions of Georgia. The approximate number of people forced to leave their homes are 40, 000. Most of the internally displaced people are in Tbilisi now and seek shelter and support.
Please, everybody - take some action - do what you can to contribute to the immediate end of this horrible situation!
Executive DirectorWomen’s Fund in Georgia
52, Lado Asatiani Str., II Floor,
0105 Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: + 995 32 935094
Fax: + 995 32 935094
From Nina Tsihistavi, from The Caucasus Women's Research and Consulting Network:
August 12, 2008
It is morning now, and we still are alive. thanks a lot! i am deeply thankful for your so warm message and information. Yesterday evening we organised next women's demonstration, we were lot of us there but still feel myself as nothing because we are not able to stop this bloodshed.
Russians took now Gori, Zugdidi, Senaki, Poti. Our troops are concentrated nearby mtskheta as people say. Who knows what would be tonight. I am not in a panic, please you also be relatively quiet, it is much moreworst when you are faraway and are just watching cnn, others. I know, everything will be managed. we still have so high international representation here intbilisi, that might stop Russians not to continue violence.
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