Revised assessment report "Buffer zone" (Georgia)

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Period of the assessment: from the 15th to the 30th of September 2008
La Garenne-Colombes / Tbilissi, the 11th of October 2008

I. Methodology

A. Assessment site selection:

1. Buffer zone, definition

Among most actors in the field, there is no common definition on what is currently called the buffer zone. Yet the US Department of Defense defines a 'buffer zone' as follows. "A defined area controlled by a peace operations force from which disputing or belligerent forces have been excluded. A buffer zone is formed to create an area of separation between disputing or belligerent forces and reduce the risk of renewed conflict." (DOD 2005) Under the current circumstances in post-war Georgia, the so-called buffer zone can be defined as follows:

- A war-affected Georgian territory north of Gori and South of Tskhinvali (corresponding to 36 villages) with restricted access that is occupied by Russian and Ossetian armed forces from which a significant part of the population was forced to move.

2. Assessment localities

The PU assessment mission in Georgia started to collect information at the beginning of the crisis. PU participated in the different cluster meetings lead by UN agencies in Tbilisi and Gori. For this assessment, PU decided to focus on the most war-affected areas of the co-called buffer zone, starting from the boarder of South Ossetia and going south. A total of 8 municipalities have been assessed corresponding to 29 villages (see section II. Population, page 4, for more detailed data).

B. Sources of Information

1. Secondary Level:

A review was done of the assessment reports gathered by the coordination systems:

- Attendance of different Clusters in Tbilisi and Gori

- Attendance to coordination meeting held by UNHCR

2. Primary Level:

Local authorities:

- Meeting with the heads of municipality of the so-called buffer zone

- Meeting with, Kakha Toliashvili, Chief of apparatus of Gori municipality board


In the IDP camp of Gori a significant part of the crisis-affected IDPs were interviewed, in order to get an overview of the situation.

Inhabitants of the assessed villages

In the different villages, interviews were conducted with different villagers. Specific interviews were conducted with local focal points (nurses, teachers and shop owners) on the subjects of health, education and the impact of the conflict on the local economy.

C. Methodology


For the first ten villages the WFP Initial Rapid Assessment (IRA) form was used. This form was later on adapted to focus more on qualitative data.

Focus group:

Focus-group discussions held within the Gori IDPs camp. Focus-group in the different villages with representative of the population


Interviews were conducted in order to cross-check the gathered information. Interviews were also conducted in order to cross check information gathered from official authorities.