“Then the bombs started falling from the planes,” said Lena, one of the 150,000 people made homeless by the conflict in Georgia. “We ran.”
Most ran without food, clothing or shelter – just what they were wearing.
Women and children, the sick and elderly were all forced from their homes as fighting broke out over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
The urgent needs are food, shelter, and health care. Caritas began working immediately, providing people caught on both sides of the conflict with food, clothes and other useful items, and will be flying in medical supplies.
In Georgia, Caritas is working in four centres for people who’ve been displaced by the fighting.
“In one of these centers, in the Olympia center, Caritas Georgia organized a soup kitchen. First day there were 258 people registered at this center. Today the number has been increased and the Soup kitchen staff prepared meals for 350 persons, said Ilona Adamova of Caritas Georgia.
“Half of them are children and youth. There are also a lot babies among them.”
Caritas soup kitchen operations and bakery will feed over a thousand people. Caritas Medical teams will help 6,500 people, and its trauma counsellors will provide care for 1100 children.
Across the frontline, at the epicentre of the fighting in South Ossetia and across the border with Russia in North Ossetia, Caritas will be air lifting in medical kits that have the capacity to provide 150,000 people with their medical needs for two months.
Diocesan Caritas South of Russia plans to help 300 children and 300 adult refugees from South Ossetia with clothes and trauma counselling.
Caritas has received generous support from its donors although still needs support for the health kits and will need more resources for long-term rehabilitation efforts as well.