In response to an urgent request from the Georgian Government, on Saturday WFP dispatched a truckload of food to the conflict-affected town of Gori, where it has been unable to reach people due to insecurity.
“We understand the food situation in Gori has now become desperate,” said WFP Georgia Country Director, Lola Castro. “We ar
We understand the food situation in Gori has now become desperate.
Lola Castro, WFP Georgia Country Director
e providing the Government with high energy biscuits (HEB) and sugar to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable displaced people in the town.” She added that World Vision International was sending canned meat, buckwheat, pasta and tea with the same consignment.
High energy biscuits
Last Wednesday, WFP airlifted 34 metric tons of the highly nutritious HEBs – which require no preparation – into Georgia from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy. The HEBs, donated by the European Union, have already been distributed to some 18,000 people in and around the capital, Tbilisi.
Another flight from Brindisi arrived in Tbilisi today with almost 60 tons of high energy biscuits, donated by USAID.
WFP has identified bakeries near areas where internally displaced people have concentrated, and the agency is supplying wheat flour to make bread for distribution to the hungry. It is also providing food for soup kitchens, set up to enable people – many of whom have no access to cooking facilities – to eat hot food.
So far WFP has provided food assistance to some 34,000 people displaced by the conflict.
Coordinating food assistance
WFP is also playing a leading role in coordinating food assistance and will start offering logistical support to other humanitarian organisations, drawing on capacity from its existing operation in the country. Before the crisis erupted, WFP was providing food to more than 212,000 people, mainly poor rural communities, as well as primary schoolchildren, tuberculosis patients and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Tens of thousands of people have fled South Ossetia since the conflict started a week ago. Some 30,000 of them are estimated to have crossed the border into North Ossetia, part of the Russian Federation. WFP is monitoring the situation from its office in the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz.
The Russian Government is providing the displaced population with humanitarian assistance, including food aid. Through its own on-site visits WFP has witnessed that Russia’s aid effort is coming through effectively in North Ossetia and that the needs of the displaced population are being met. WFP remains ready to offer assistance, if required.
The WFP Country Office in Moscow is in regular contact with the Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia) to liaise on the substantial aid effort that is taking place in the Russian Federation to assist the conflict affected population from South Ossetia.
According to the Russian Government, some 30,000 people fled from the conflict zone into the Russian Federation, the majority of them women and children. Registration is on-going by the Russian Federal Migration Service to capture those who crossed the border. Among them, 5,000 displaced persons are accommodated in 51 temporary accommodation centers set up mainly in North Ossetia, as well as in other republics in the Southern Federal District of Russia. Many more people have sought shelter with relatives and friends.
The Russian Government has assigned EMERCOM to coordinate the relief operation through provision of food, potable water, medicines, water purification units, generators, blankets, etc. Basic supplies are mobilized from depots throughout Russia to EMERCOM's humanitarian base in Vladikavkaz to assist the displaced population. WFP on-site visits to accommodation centers in North Ossetia confirm that the aid effort is coming through generously and effectively, thereby meeting the critical needs of the displaced population. WFP continues to monitor this situation closely and has offered to provide resources to complement this aid effort, if required.
WFP has not yet been able to access South Ossetia, due to ongoing insecurity in the area. There are reports of wide-scale destruction in the capital Tskhinvali and elsewhere. WFP has received reports from EMERCOM on its relief operation in the area, including provision of food and water. It is imperative that WFP and other humanitarian agencies are granted safe access and security as quickly as possible in order to assess the situation.