Georgia

ACT appeal Georgia: Rehabilitation - EUGE-31

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Appeal Target: US$ 44,652
Geneva, 9 January 2003

Dear Colleagues,

The earthquake that struck Tbilisi on 25 April 2002 was the worst natural disaster Georgia has experienced in years. Since the death toll was not considered high (6 persons) and because the local government made a promise to assist thousands who lost homes, ACT members did not seek funds for immediate assistance through an ACT appeal.

Since the earthquake occurred, the NGO community has become more concerned about the gaping difference between damage estimates and funding raised for the assistance. In addition, it became obvious that the local government has failed to provide even a minimum assistance to the needy. This has resulted in the recent protests by the thousands affected by the earthquake who took to the streets demanding the delayed help promised by the government.

ACT member Lazarus seeks financial support for rehabilitation of two buildings which serve as temporary accommodation for old cases of IDPs in Georgia. As far as humanitarian assistance is concerned, this marginalized category of the population remains a priority to Lazarus. The agency will target IDP settlements given that their plight grows on a daily basis and that the general negligence towards this category of population is not likely to be corrected any time soon.

This appeals has been put together with help and guidance from staff of WCC Eastern Europe office.

Project Completion Date: 31 March 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
44,652
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
0
Balance Requested from ACT Network
44,652

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information : ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
Director
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
Director
ACT
Robert Granke
Director
LWF/World Service

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER

  • Georgian Orthodox Church
II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

"Lazarus" is the Charitable Foundation of the Georgian Patriarchate, and the implementing agency of its humanitarian assistance programs. Lazarus is the main local partner of WCC and is a registered non-governmental and non-profit organisation which was established in 1994 as the "social arm" of the Georgian Orthodox Church to co-ordinate responses to people in need. Lazarus' aim is to co-ordinate humanitarian aid contributions from both local and international donors and to ensure that assistance reaches beneficiaries directly and effectively.

IOCC - Tbilisi (Georgia) - (Project assistance and technical guidance) - International Orthodox Christian Charities is the official humanitarian organisation of the Orthodox Christians in America and Canada. IOCC is a non-profit humanitarian and development organisation based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Established in 1992 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas, IOCC's Georgia field office was established in 1994. IOCC has worked in partnership with Lazarus since that time, providing emergency food distributions from 1994 to 2002 to over 200,000 people. In addition to supporting the development of Lazarus, IOCC's Georgia field office currently operates a $600,000 micro-credit program, a 14,000 student school feeding program, an infrastructure rehabilitation program, and several smaller projects. Lazarus is IOCC's main implementing partner in Georgia, and IOCC is committed to Lazarus' further development.

Red Cross Committee (Georgia) - technical assistance for the Project;

Other local organisations assisting in the project implementation include:

  • The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation.
  • An engineering/construction company will be chosen through tender.
III. DESCRIPTION OF EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

In addition to the chronic economic crisis in Georgia, certain political developments have complicated the situation further. The government remains incapable of taking care of the vulnerable population, paying pensions, etc and very few resources are available to respond to emergencies of any kind.

The importance of a social policy increases steadily in the country as tensions escalate, subside, and re-escalate. As usual, the burden of transition falls upon the shoulders of most vulnerable - those who are least able to bear them. The current social system has experienced no significant improvement, remaining ineffective in guaranteeing a safety net for the poor. Rampant corruption has impeded progress in all economic and social sectors.

Against this backdrop, on 25 April 2002, at 22:41 local time, Tbilisi was hit by an earthquake registering a magnitude of 6 at the epicenter (for more details visit web page http://www.ggs.org.ge/).

UNICEF, UMCOR, and UNWFP provided an immediate response in the form of tents, beds, rugs, bed-linen, blankets, and food for IDP families who were evacuated from collective centres in the Tbilisi Sea area following the earthquake. Many of the evacuees have since returned to the buildings despite the danger.

Impact On Human Lives

The earthquake took place not too late at night, and fortunately there were only 6 reported deaths. The earthquake did however damage or render unsafe 15,000 residential buildings, and a considerable number of civil buildings. 350 families lost their homes and became IDP's, 27 churches were damaged, as well as 110 schools, and 77 collective centres where IDP's had been living previously. 160 IDP families became homeless for the second time. Of forty-nine IDP collective centres assessed in Tbilisi, 4 were categorized as having suffered III degree damage, meaning that they are no longer habitable, and are on the verge of collapse. Consequently, 143 families (7,579 persons) were left homeless and evacuated into tents. However, many of them have since returned to the buildings despite the fact that they are dangerous, because there is no other place for them to go.

Description of Damages

Additional information was recently made public by the Ministry:

19,235 single family houses have been assessed for damage by the Tbilisi Mayor's office and the emergency response group created by the Ministry of Urbanization and Reconstruction.

Of the 19,235 buildings,

  • 4,952 fall within the category I meaning there was only minor damages
  • 12,126 fall within category II meaning there are major damages, but repairs are possible and the buildings can be made structurally sound again.
  • 2,034 fall within category III meaning that the buildings are uninhabitable and must be demolished and rebuilt.
In addition, 202 schools were assessed. Of these,
  • 98 fall into category I
  • 97 fall into category II and
  • 7 fall into category III.
161 kindergartens were assessed. Of these,
  • 79 were in category I
  • 74 were in category II and
  • 8 were in category III.
370 prisons were assessed, as well as 76 Hospitals, 27 churches, and 467 architectural monuments, almost all are in need of repair.

About 600 families were provided with new apartments by the government as of 10 September (these families do not include IDP's). Rapid repairs were made to 25 schools to make them safe to open for the start of the school year.

Locations for Proposed Response

IDP settlements will be targeted as one of Lazarus' priorities are IDP problems (Lazarus has ongoing community development projects for IDPs). Lazarus aims to organise the reconstruction of two damaged IDP's settlements, which suffered category II damages due to the earthquake. The preliminary study of the situation has shown that it's possible to strengthen them and make them suitable for living. The IDP's have been living in these settlements for 10 years. During the last twelve months Lazarus has been working on a development project with the IDPs and this was interrupted by the earthquake. All these buildings are situated in the Didube-Chugureti region of the earthquake's epicentre area.

Disaster and Emergency Statistics

Regarding damage to IDP centres, the UN and other NGOs have relied on the information provided by the Management Group for Extreme Situations established within the Ministry of Urbanisation and Reconstruction in response to the earthquake. The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation is represented in this group. According to their assessments, the government should take responsibility for the victims, and especially for refugees-, but little has been accomplished beyond the assessments.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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