Friday, August 15, 2008
Aid Groups Begin Relief Efforts in Conflict-Ridden Georgia
World Vision has begun providing emergency assistance to civilians displaced by the conflict in Georgia.The Christian humanitarian agency started distributing food, soap, blankets and other essentials to those, mainly women and children, who managed to flee to Georgia's capital, Tblisi. Meanwhile, the United Nations' World Food Program has also started providing food rations to some 2,000 people, with the number of needy people rising by the hour.U.N. agencies and NGOs are working closely together to coordinate an effective response in addressing the increasing humanitarian crisis, according to David Womble, World Vision's national director in Georgia. There are currently eight Internally Displaced Persons locations, three of which are located in Tbilisi,aiding the displaced. Violence broke out Friday when Georgia launched an attack to regain control over the region of South Ossetia, according to The Associated Press. Russia swiftly retaliated, sending tanks and troops into South Ossetia and bombing Georgian towns. New raids were launched on Monday by Russian jets on Georgian territory.South Ossetia, which has an autonomous government, is inside Georgia, but many South Ossetians support unification with the neighboring Russian province of North Ossetia.Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili said he signed an international-brokered proposal for a cease-fire with Russia, telling journalists that they are "trying to stop this as soon as possible." But Russian officials said they saw no cease-fire on the ground, according to CNN.Since Friday, more than 2,000 people had been killed, according to a Russian official."I have seen war, but what I saw today was terrible," one 36-year-old mother told World Vision staff. "I haven't seen anything like that in my life. I was shocked. What are we going to do now?"The world's seven largest economic powers urged Russia on Monday to accept an immediate cease-fire and agree to international mediation. President Bush has criticized Russia's response to Georgia's attack as "disproportionate." Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy,the president of the European Union, is expected to visit the capitals of both Russia and Georgia in efforts to end the fighting.
As in the days of Noah...