Georgia

OCHA Situation Report for Georgia Dec 1999

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IOCC Helps Vulnerable Population
The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has recently concluded its 1998-1999 food distribution in southern and western Georgia funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Approximately 42,500 beneficiaries received 7 kilograms of wheat flour and 2 kilograms each of beans, rice, and vegetable oil every two months for the past year. IOCC expects to begin a similar 12-month USDA-funded food distribution in southern and western Georgia in mid to late January 2000. This project will also include small-scale social infrastructure redevelopment (through food for work), and will be funded through monetisation. The monetisation component of the programme will include 2,200 MT of USDA provided sunflower oil.

Also concluding at the end of this month is IOCC's soup kitchen project. The programme has provided daily hot meals to approximately 3,700 beneficiaries for the past year. Although the project was centred around the large towns in the west, several kitchens operated in central and eastern Georgia as well. In Senaki, Khobi, and Zugdidi, the final two months of operations were replaced with a distribution of food parcels for children of IDP families from the Gali region. The parcels include wheat flour, rice, beans, oil, and locally purchased milk powder, spaghetti, and sugar. This distribution will serve approximately 5,000 children, and will conclude by the end of December 1999.

IOCC continues to implement its Blanket Project in conjunction with Lazarus, its local partner. The project provides employment for approximately 300 IDPs in Tbilisi and in Zugdidi. A total of 10,000 blankets (4,000 in Tbilisi and 6,000 in Zugdidi), and 5,000 mattresses (in Tbilisi) will be produced by the end of the project. Produced blankets and mattresses are distributed free of charge to various vulnerable institutions and individuals all over Georgia.

IRC Implements Community Micro-Projects

The International Rescue Committee's (IRC) Community Participation and Community Development programmes are collaborating on a series of community micro-projects and training programmes. The US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) funded project will assist fifteen communities in identifying and supporting community micro-projects in western Georgia, and the Gori and Kareli districts. In each community a local project committee is established and provided with pre-assessment training for increasing the committee's participation level during the actual assessment, and later during the project implementation. Local project committees are responsible for developing the community's project proposal and organising community participation and contribution to the identified micro-project.

The International Federation Implements Family Food Parcels Programme

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the Federation) and the Georgian Red Cross Society (GRCS) have finished the first round of family food parcel distribution as part of a programme implemented jointly by the Federation and GRCS. The programme is funded by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and aims to improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable population in Georgia through the supplementary food assistance.

The first distribution round targeted 25,000 lonely elderly pensioners and handicapped people. The food parcels include 6 kilograms of wheat floor, 3 kilograms of rice, 2 litres of vegetable oil, 2 kilograms of beans, 2 kilograms of pasta, 2 kilograms of sugar, 800 grams of canned beef, 100 grams of iodised salt, and 600 grams of soap.

It is anticipated that until February 2000, the parcels will be handed out to the beneficiaries in two more rounds by GRCS staff and volunteers.

The Federation representatives are monitoring the distribution.

SECTORS

Capacity Building

On Wednesday, 8 December, an exhibition/sale of crafts made by members of the IDP Women Association was held at the UN House in Tbilisi. The Christmas exhibition/sale was facilitated by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV). IDP women presented embroidery (including Georgian icons), sweaters, socks, wooden boxes, a wooden table, Christmas cards and many other type of craft items. These crafts are still available for sale through the UNV office. For additional Information please contact Ms. Julia Kharashvili, Community Facilitator, UNV.

On 28 November, the State Chancellery's Department of Relations with Political Organisations and NGOs, the Consultation and Training Centre, and the United Nations Association (UNA) organised a meeting of community based organisations (CBO). The organisations briefed each other about their activities in order to share experience, and determine mechanisms for further cooperation. It was agreed that such meetings will take place on a regular basis.

Confidence Building

On 12 December, Public Movement Multinational Georgia organised a charitable concert at the Armenian Drama Theatre in Tbilisi. Children representing more than 15 ethnicities residing in Georgia performed national dances and songs. The concert was held with the slogan Georgia for All - All for Georgia!

Food

From 1 to 9 December Counterpart International delivered food to 100 disabled persons at the Terjola psycho-neurological boarding house.

From 9 to 19 December, Counterpart International delivered food to 120 World War II veterans in Vake and Krtsanisi districts of Tbilisi, and 508 World War II veterans from Abkhazia. Food was also donated to 300 IDPs and 700 disabled persons in the Ozurgeti district.

Health

On 1 December, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Medicines sans Frontieres - Greece (MSF), and the HIV Patients Support Foundation held a series of events dedicated to World AIDS Day under the slogan: Listen, learn, live! The day was kicked off with a press-conference at MSF-Greece, where it was announced that there are 150 HIV patients officially registered in Georgia, most of whom are drug addicts.

Afterwards the Georgian Aids and Clinical Immunology Research Centre, funded by UNICEF, distributed information booklets and posters on HIV infection, and condoms at Tbilisi State University, petrol stations, and metro steps. The commemoration of the day finished at the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel with a charitable concert.

UNICEF has assisted the Government of Georgia by procuring Hepatitis B vaccine for infants under 1 year of age.

There is still a high and rising morbidity rate (10.6 per 100.000) from the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) due to the lack of disposable medical supplies, collapse of adequate laboratory testing system, high level of HBV infected/carriers in health care personnel, substantial increase of intravenous drug users, and multiple sexual users. The vaccines will be used for the first half of the year 2000.

The opening of a newly rehabilitated community medical point took place in the village of Sarabuk, South Ossetia, last week. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) funded project was designed with the purpose of promoting access to health care and providing community health education in areas of return or areas of potential return. In total, five rural communities with government supported medical points and a returnee population (or potential) were selected for this project.

Programme activities include community mobilisation around the issues of health and healthcare provision, rehabilitation and equipping of the local medical point and health education for the general public.

On 20 December, International Relief and Development (IRD) received humanitarian medicines for distribution to medical institutions in Samegrelo, Imereti and Guria for IDPs and local vulnerable patients. This was the first drug supply released from the customhouse after the Ministry of Health (MoH) agreed to simplify the registration procedures for humanitarian drug supplies necessary for running humanitarian programmes in Georgia.

Human Rights

UNA has held a model session of the UN General Assembly regarding Human Civil and Political Rights, dedicated to Human Rights Day, the 10th of December.

The Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia," funded by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), has translated into Georgian the human rights education videotape "Stand up Now for Human Rights!" The film is prepared by the Council of Europe and it aims to raise human rights awareness among young people by explaining the historical development of human rights and showing how young people can be involved in activities to protect and promote human rights throughout Europe. Human Rights in Georgia plans to distribute the videotape to secondary schools throughout Georgia.

UNICEF has initiated the process of legislation review in order to define the consistence of the national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). A team of local legal experts has been invited for an article-by-article review of the national legislation to exclude all discrepancies and ensure that all child rights can be realised and enforced. The review process will produce a comprehensive picture of how the Convention is reflected in the national legislation. The process will be followed by advocacy actions to narrow the gaps and to further bring legislation in line with the principles and standards of the Convention. In order to ensure the quality of the review process UNICEF invited an international consultant to lead a five-day workshop providing professional support and guidance on the project implementation for a national team of lawyers. The workshop was held from 13 to 17 December, and a report will be available by mid-February.

Multi-sectoral Assistance to Children in Difficult Circumstances

Hilfswerk Austria has delivered 800 school bags containing stationary to Georgian and South Ossetian schools in Kheti, Tamarasheni, and Java. The schools were constructed by Hilfswerk Austria, as part of the European Commission's (EC) rehabilitation programme in South Ossetia, Georgia.

During November, the Evangelical Mission Society of America (EMSA) delivered clothing iodised salt, colouring books, toys, candies, balloons, balls, and combs to 284 children at children's institutions for children in Tbilisi, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza, Surami, Akhalgori, Samtredia, Kachereti, and Zemo Bodbe.

In the end of November, SOCO Foundation distributed 400 schoolbooks and 300 notebooks to the schools of the villages Kitskhi and Vardzia in the Kharagauli districts. The effort was funded by two Dutch sponsors.

Shelter

From 9 to 19 December, Counterpart International delivered clothing to 120 veterans of the World War II in Vake and Krtsanisi districts.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) held an information sharing meeting on 1 December 1999, in Tskhinvali to discuss unmet needs for winter assistance. Both donors and implementing agencies attended the meeting. On 8 December 1999, as follow on to the information sharing meeting, representatives from the international humanitarian community met with de facto president of South Ossetia, Mr. Ludwig Chibirov to discuss how the local authorities could contribute to efforts aimed at improving conditions of the most vulnerable. Mr. Chibirov noted that he appointed Mr. Leonid Tibilov as the focal point for agencies working in the area.

For more information on the humanitarian situation in South Ossetia please contact Ms. Sarah Logan, Field Advisor, OCHA Georgia.

On 3 December, the Government of Georgia and UNICEF signed a Basic Cooperation Agreement in Tbilisi. The agreement will form the foundation of UNICEF assistance in Georgia and the presence of the UNICEF Area Office in Tbilisi.

UNICEF Georgia Office has produced a second issue of the newsletter UNICEF in Georgia, which highlights major trends and developments affecting the situation of children and women in Georgia as well as the main UNICEF interventions in 1999.

English and Georgian versions of the document are available at the UNICEF Georgia Country Office.

Tel.: (995 32) 23 23 88 or 25 11 30.

On 22 December, the recently opened Youth House in Zugdidi was severely damaged by fire. The House, which had been refurbished, opened one month ago with support from UMCOR and USAID. More than 400 children, both IDPs and locals, were participating in Youth House programmes for the socially vulnerable. The roof was completely destroyed, and the House is in urgent need of financial assistance in order to make immediate repairs that will prevent further damage to the building structure. Financial or in-kind donations may be made directly to Atinati, the local implementing NGO in Zugdidi, or through the UNV office in Tbilisi.

For more information please contact Gia Khasia, President of Atinati, Tel.: 8 99 57 54 57 or Julia Kharashvili, UNV, Tel.: 8 99 57 07 98 - UN House, 9 Eristavi Street, Tbilisi.

Produced by OCHA Georgia. For more information, please contact Ms. Nino Zhvania, Information Officer.
Tel/fax : 995-32-959516; Tel: 995-32-943163; e-mail: unocha@unocha.org.ge

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.