The UNHCR Representative in Georgia visits landslide victims

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On 29 June 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Georgia Ms Simone Wolken, visited families affected by the heavy rains and landslides in Khashuri district, Shida Kartli region.

“UNHCR is devastated by the suffering of people, caused by the landslides and the floods. We decided to give them whatever we have in our emergency stocks. Those are mattresses, folding beds, kitchens sets, jerry cans, bed linens – whatever one needs in an emergency when his or her household has been destroyed,” says Ms Simone Wolken.

UNHCR is helping some 1,500 families who are landslide victims in Khashuri and Surami towns, by providing them with 1,500 Jerry Cans (10 litres each); 600 folding beds; 500 mattresses; 750 blankets and pillows and 505 kitchen sets; as well as with 2350 m2 of plastic sheeting and 3000 bed sheets.

“United Nations can only hope that these families will get back on their feet again very quickly. To provide assistance to families affected by the heavy rains and landslides, we are working in a partnership with United States and other organizations. There is so much needed that whoever can help is encouraged to do so now,” says Ms Simone Wolken.

Distribution of relief items to families affected by the heavy rains and landslides started in the morning of 29 June in Khashuri. A special committee was created by the local government of Shida Kartli region to conduct assessment of damage. Depending on the extent of the damage three groups have been classified: 1) heavily damaged, 2) partially damaged and 3) slightly damaged. Each group will receive assistance provided by different organizations, based on the assessment of needs.

“Assistance for those people is very helpful. If not UNHCR and the other organizations who are providing assistance, we would not be able to overcome this challenge”, says the Governor of Shida Kartli region, Mr. Zurab Arsoshvili.

UNHCR addresses the protection and assistance needs of over 360,000 persons of concern in Georgia which includes some 350,000 internally displaced people and around 600 refugees. Although this is a huge number, each and every one of them has a very human story to tell. Refugees and internally displaced people are not faceless statistics – they are real people just like you and me who through no fault of their own have lost everything.