The Georgian flag flies at half mast above a quiet and deserted main square in Tbilisi. Fear and uncertainty are keeping the city’s people indoors; few are encouraged by an unsigned ceasefire deal.
“We need to understand what the international agreement is. All these agreements are agreed only to be broken later. We should not trust them for one minute,” said one Tblisi resident.
The conflict erupted so quickly that it took many Georgians and Ossetians by surprise. Just over a week ago, the situation had been tense but life carried on as normal. The refugee camps that have since sprung up seemed a distant prospect.
“Look at what Saakashvili has done to us,” said one elderly woman living near the South ossetian border. “We (Georgians, Ossetians and Russians) all used to live together. Of course there were some problems, but we lived together. My house had eight rooms but now I have lost it. It has been destroyed.”
The UN’s refugee agency estimates that up to 100,000 people have been displaced since the fighting escalated last Friday.