Report about the Program for Refugees and others after the War
By Bishop Merab Gaprindshvili. 20. November 2008
We started a soup kitchen in Gori on the 23rd of September and before this project began we carried out some preparatory work. We dug a 14 meter well for water and the water was examined and proved fit for drinking and preparing meals. We also bought equipment and tools which were necessary for the soup kitchen’s operation. At first, we thought we would feed about 70-100 people, but now we are feeding about 150 people daily.
We also continue to distribute food and supplies, such as mattresses and hygiene items to IDPs. To date we have delivered non-food items to more than 800 IDPs in over 8 centres, and food to more than 1500 IDPs in over 10 centres. We also recruited more staff and volunteers to handle the response.
Help for the poor.
Because of the recent war with Russia this project has become more important for us. We have already selected families that are living in very difficult circumstances. We would first like to support orphans living with poor relatives. Most families do not have the minimum purchasing power to survive and having additional children creates more of a burden. Because of the poverty of the adoptive relatives, some children are suffering from lack of food and medical care. For example, our Sister Natela from Gori Church died with her husband after a bomb explosion. Their house was completely destroyed. They left 4 children behind who currently live with their aunt. We wanted to bring them to the Beteli Center, but they preferred to stay with their relatives and will consider our suggestion in the near future.
Winter help program.
This winter will be very difficult in Georgia. Hunger will be one of the greatest problems facing our population in the winter period.
There are many reasons;
1.) the world economic crises,
2) the socio-economic infrastructure of the country, as a consequence of war,
3) natural disasters and human made catastrophes have devastated food production; crops were left to rot in the fields as IDPs fled to safety. When they went back the harvest was finished.
In the middle of October Archbishop Malkhaz and I visited the villages in Gori and witnessed the poverty, lack of food and destroyed houses. We had an opportunity to meet the local villagers and talk to them. Mr. Georgi, a 65 year old man, told us that he did not leave his house. He stayed home in order to take care of his domestic animals while his family members left for Tbilisi and stayed in a local Kindergarten school building. His neighbours’ houses were destroyed by Russian aircrafts that dropped bombs throughout the village. The Russians were then followed by Ossetian and North Caucasian criminals who were looting houses and shooting those who tried to resist, said Mr. Georgi.
burnt house in Tkhviavi
unloading purchased products for the refugees in the tent tow
visit to the tent town
Bishop Ilia’s visit to the 12th School of Gori