Sunday, August 17, 2008

The UN refugee agency in South Ossetia

At this moment, tens of thousands of civilians are living in precarious conditions, having been driven from their homes by the crisis in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.
Yesterday, the first UNHCR plane carrying emergency aid arrived in the Georgian capital T'bilisi – the first international assistance to arrive in the country since fighting broke out last week. This included tents, blankets, jerry cans and kitchens sets from our central emergency stockpile.
Over the weekend, I made an appeal to the Georgian and Russian authorities to establish humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee the conflict zones.
The UN refugee agency has a long-established presence in the region and, since 1993, has been caring for some 275,000 people displaced previously.
Working with local partners, we are now providing assistance to the most vulnerable and needy. These include many young children and family members separated from one another. The situation is evolving rapidly and we are monitoring the needs of the newly displaced population, which now numbers some 100,000.
We urgently need more supplies. We are working actively to get aid to South Ossetia, which has been cut off by the security situation. We also hope to reach at least 30,000 people who have fled across the border into North Ossetia in the Russian Federation.
Please help by donating to our emergency appeal.

We expect the cost of the operation to reach into the millions, so I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m hoping that we can count on you to help.

Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated and make all the difference.

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