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August 12, 08

NEWS / Georgia to Get U.S. Humanitarian Assistance

Georgia to Get U.S. Humanitarian Assistance

Emergency relief supplies will assist up to 10,000 people

By Domenick DiPasquale
Staff Writer

Washington -- The United States is providing an initial $250,000 in emergency assistance to Georgia to aid people affected by the current fighting between that country and Russia.

The funding, announced August 11 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will be used for relief supplies that can assist as many as 10,000 people.

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” said USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore, “and stand ready to provide additional humanitarian assistance to help the people of Georgia.”

In addition, the U.S. Embassy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi has released pre-positioned disaster packages that contain emergency shelter supplies such as tents, beds, blankets and bedding.

Press reports have quoted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as saying that 80 percent of the population of the Georgian city of Gori, or some 40,000 people, have fled the fighting. The UNHCR has reported that tens of thousands also have fled South Ossetia, the region in Georgia where there has been intense fighting.

USAID long has provided development assistance to Georgia, focusing on such areas as the rule of law, economic growth, energy security, health and education. Since 1992, USAID assistance to Georgia has totaled approximately $1 billion. Specific projects have ranged from technical training to help reform the Georgian parliament and judiciary to rural economic development programs and improvements in the country’s energy sector.

In addition, the Peace Corps has had a presence in Georgia since 2001, with a total of 255 volunteers having served there to date. Before the current fighting began, nearly 80 Peace Corps volunteers were stationed throughout the country, working to enhance English-language training and the development of nongovernmental organizations.

Source: http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/August/20080811171156rdelauqsapid0.535351.html?CP.rss=true

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