Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:38 AM
To: Georgia Emergency Responce
Subject: Georgia Crisis: Situation Report August 15/16 (the weekend edition)
As in recent emergency responses, we will strive to keep everyone updated and in the loop by providing daily situation reports at least for the next week or two.
Security remains our biggest concern and constraint. All staff members are accounted for and we are in regular contact with them. Our staff members in the affected areas, many of them displaced themselves, are doing a tremendous job helping their communities. Today there has been some military action south of Gori (a rail bridge was taken out) as well as increased criminal activities. In addition to being a main supply route for Azerbaijan oil this rail route is also the key cargo route fro WFP food coming from the west of the country. Most people are primarily concerned with informal militia and criminals who represent the most significant threat at the moment.
The Emerging Strategy
Some of our strongest areas of operation are the epicenters of the current conflict. Gori has been the center of fighting and most IDPs have originated in Gori. CHF is the only major NGO with any capacity in Gori. Every other NGO working in Georgia and the new arrivals wants to establish themselves in Gori. Our strategy is to provide limited (one off) immediate relief to communities where we work and where we have staff members and quickly transition to shelter, IDP community organization, and livelihoods. This will allow us to meet needs that others cannot right now, while maintaining our links to these communities. In the medium-term, we feel that this strategy will allow us to maintain our leading role in the area and position CHF for recovery and reconstruction funding that almost certainly coming. We will apply a similar strategy in Western Georgia near Abkhazia where we also have a strong presence and few other organizations are working.
Information remains fragmented and scarce. There are anywhere up to 120,000 IDPs at this stage. About 60,000 are in Tbilisi, while the others are spread throughout the country. Little information is available on displacement in the west at this stage. Eddie will conduct a joint assessment with the UN High Commission for Refugees of a tented camp at the airport, on Sunday. He is also taking the lead in organizing a telephone assessment from our local staff in the field on Monday. The information especially from Gori and western Georgia will help us develop our plans and feed valuable information to USAID and other potential funders.
Program development support and field coordination
Given the sustained need for support, we have mobilized an emergency coordinator for 3-4 weeks, a consultant (Melinda Leonard) who has lived and worked in Georgia – and recently worked for us in Ethiopia. Melinda will arrive on August 19th.
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 1:42 PM
To: Georgia Emergency Response
Subject: Georgia Emergency Response Situation Report August 18th 2008
A very quick situation report today, a fuller update will be sent tomorrow.
1. We managed to facilitate the first emergency food distributions in Gori – the epicenter of the crisis on the Georgian side. Our staff in the communities near Gori was able to help organize the communities and delivery after WFP ran the numerous formal and informal roadblocks on the way to Gori. While not a primary activity for CHF this meant a huge amount to our staff and the communities the live and work in.
2. Melinda Leonard, the consultant Emergency Coordinator we have brought in to support the response, arrives this morning.