Contact: Beth Schaefer, Media Relations Manager
Phone: (301) 680-6355 Fax: (301) 680-6370
Date: January 27, 2000
TBILISI, GEORGIA - Following a recent shift of Chechen refugees into eastern Georgia, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing thousands of pounds of warm clothing, blankets and infant food to those in need.
"The civil war in Chechnya has brought devastation and forced thousands to leave their homes in order to preserve their lives," says Loganathan Perumal, ADRA Georgia's acting country director. "Refugee camps inside Chechnya are spread in a number of bordering regions, with a total number of refugees estimated around 200,000."
Following attacks on these refugee camps and military bases over the past three months, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates 7,500 refugees have fled into eastern Georgian villages to seek protection, 40 percent of these are children. It is estimated that as many as 75 refugees continue to enter Georgia each day. "Many of the refugees are sharing houses with local Georgian families, and some are living in government buildings," explains Perumal.
On January 20 and 21, ADRA Georgia distributed 140 bales-15,400 pounds (6,930 kilograms)-of winter clothing to 5,000 men, women and children in three refugee camps in eastern Georgia: Dulsi, Jokolla, and Omallo. ADRA also distributed 425 blankets and 200 quilts-4,400 pounds (1,980 kilograms)-to help cover the families during the cold winter months. This relief was funded by ADRA donors in the United States and Czech Republic.
"It was snowing the entire first day of the distribution," says Perumal, "but many people were helping us, including representatives from the local government."
On February 3, 2000, ADRA Georgia will distribute infant food, including wheat cereal and milk powder, to approximately 1,500 children aged two years and younger at the same three refugee camps. The project will be funded by ADRA Czech Republic, with Sarka Zykova, communications officer, monitoring the distribution.
ADRA's International office, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, is accepting monetary donations for its relief efforts in Georgia. To make a donation, please call ADRA's toll-free number 1-800-424-ADRA (2372). To make an online donation or to find out more about ADRA, visit the web site at www.adra.org.