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Humanitarian crisis persists, despite peace moves

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Humanitarian crisis persists, despite peace moves


Russia may now have signed the peace plan. But, as long as its tanks remain on Georgian soil, many fear a fresh flare-up in fighting. Hence the ongoing stream of Georgians leaving their homes in search of safety.

“The night was peaceful but we decided to flee,” said one woman as she walked along a highway, having left the war-battered city of Gori.

“How are the Russians acting?” she was asked. Her reply was: “Peacefully, so far.”

The Georgian Red Cross Society says at least 1,000 people have found refuge in schools, public buildings and other sites in the capital, Tbilisi.

In all, more than 118,000 people are thought to have been displaced by the conflict, according to the UN refugee agency.

A relief operation is underway but aid agencies have complained about the lack of access to the areas worst hit by the fighting,

Some are now returning to what is left of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital. But, amid lawlessless and looting, survival is a daily struggle for those who have lost everything,

Many South Ossetians have sought a safe haven in North Ossetia over the border in Russia. Some have found shelter at a religious site where they have been reliving the horrors that forced them to flee.

“When we left, the planes were flying overhead,” said one woman, looking after her baby.
“They were bombing…terrifying explosions….the jets and the noise….the noise and the sound of the bombs exploding. The children were frightened and crying.”

The nunnery is no stranger to human tragedy. A rehabilitation centre was built there for youngsters who survived the Beslan school siege.

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