UMCOR Helps Thousands Displaced in Georgian Conflict
August 28, 2008—Nearly 60,000 people displaced by the conflict in Georgia have received assistance through the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s efforts. Medical supplies, health kits, layette kits, gas ovens, food and bedding have been distributed through UMCOR’s office.
The majority of UMCOR’s work has been with refugees in and around the capital city of Tbilisi. Some UMCOR’s staff members are in the isolated town of Kutaisi, located west of Gori—a major Georgian city that has seen much of the fighting.
Kutaisi was isolated when Russian forces shut down the major east-west highway, essentially cutting Georgia in half. The latest reports from UMCOR’s office in Tbilisi indicate that some travel to Kutaisi is now possible. UMCOR anticipates providing assistance to the estimated 12,000 internally displaced people there.
A shipment of relief supplies from UMCOR Sager Brown is en route to Georgia and is scheduled to arrive soon. The $253,000 shipment will provide additional health, school, bedding, sewing, and layette kits. Two more shipments, worth more than $500,000, are also being planned.
To date, UMCOR has provided some $100,884 in direct assistance. A part of this assistance has come from UMCOR Georgia staff members themselves. “The personal commitment of our local staff to help is commendable,” says Thomas Dwyer, UMCOR’s director of operations for its non-governmental organization. “Not only have they contributed financially, they have also given the best of their time and talent to bring relief to thousands uprooted in the conflict.”
About UMCOR in Georgia
UMCOR began humanitarian operations in Georgia in 1993 to address the basic health needs of women and children. The work of this office has grown since its inception to add agriculture and reconstruction to its work throughout the country.