Boarders of Potskhoetseri – Reportage from Exile
Shorena Latatia, Potskhoetseri – Tbilisi
The Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia resettled 12 IDP families from Tbilisi to Potskhoetseri settlement without any preliminary dialogue and thorough discussion of the issue. This forced special operation was rather exile then settlement. There were two pregnant women, three infants, six under-age children and nine sick people among the evicted IDPs.
The Human Rights Center (HRIDC) visited Potskhoetseri settlement on purpose to study the living conditions of the IDPs there.
The settlement is located 40 kilometers away from Zugdidi. It was constructed for the people working on the construction of the Enguri Hydro Electro Station during the soviet time. The settlement is made of several blocks of flats and the streets are also arranged in city style. About 500 local citizens and IDPs live in the area. The settlement is governed by the administration of the village of Chala in Zugdidi district.
Deputy commissary of Chala Community Levter Ubilava said the settlement is stretched on 4 hectares of land. The agricultural plots are not available even for the local residents. Because of bad climate the soil is not fertile enough and locals mostly grow corn; there are no enterprises or service offices in the area where IDPs could work.
There is a primary school and a nursery-school in the settlement which did not work until now. However, after the IDPs settled in the area the nursery-school will start working. As for secondary school, it is located in the village of Jvari several kilometers away.
Nato Kardava, teacher of the Potskhoetseri primary school: “There are terrible conditions in the school. We do not have enough equipment and furniture. Nevertheless, the main problem of the settlement is unemployment. Several families have not been supplied with the electricity for years because they could not pay the bills.”
Locals cannot hide their surprise at the decision of the ministry to resettle the IDPs to Potskhoetseri where the life is difficult even for locals.
The blocks of flats for the IDPs were renovated by the building companies “Blog-Georgia” and “Sano”. The façade of the buildings look nice; the rooms are empty but clean. The floor is made of laminated parquet, the walls are painted, the window-sills are of metal-plastic and they are in good conditions.
Anyway, the renovation activities have not yet finished in the buildings. Construction materials are left in several blocks; apparently the workers finished the construction several days ago. The buildings are not supplied with electricity yet. Part of IDPs supplied their flats with electricity from the street light-posts. However, IDP from Abkhazia Nana Kvashilava said that the living conditions are not that urgent for them because they strive for existence and unless they are supplied with money allowances, medicines and food on time, they would die.
Tengiz Changuria, IDP from Abkhazia: “I had no shelter in Tbilisi. So I had to arrive in Potskhoetseri after eviction from the former military hospital in Tbilisi. The local municipal board supplied us with food on August 16 and 17 but several days have passed since then and today I cannot even buy bread. Besides that I do not want to start complaining about the medicines I have to buy for my sick mother every day.”
There are several groceries in the settlement but there is no pharmacy where locals could buy medicines. The prices are higher than general prices in the local shops. Consequently, people go shopping in Zugdidi. The bus was not appointed for the new settlers yet. The mini-bus runs to Zugdidi only three times a week and the transportation fee is 5 GEL. The IDPs can pay neither transportation fee nor have money to go shopping in Zugdidi. However, it is evident that lack of shops and unorganized infrastructure in the settlement will aggravate their situation even more.
სურათებით თუ ვიმსჯელებთ, მშვენიერია, მაგრამ რამდენ ხანს გასტანს ეს "მშვენიერება", ესაა საკითხავი. გაურემონტებელ ბინაშიც იცხოვრებს ადამიანი,მთავარია დასაქმებული იყოს და შემოსავალი ქონდეს, სხვას თავად მიხედავს. ახლა ევრორემონტიან ბინებში შეგასახლეთო, იტყვიან, მაგრამ რითი უნდა იკვებონ, რითი გადაირჩინონ თავი, ისაა საქმე და საკითხავი. ამ მოჩვენებითობამ დაგვაქცია ზუსტად. ქუჩები მოკირწყლული და გაბრჭყვიალებულ-გაფანტანებული, და ელემენტარული პირველადი მოხმარების საგნებს ვერ ვაწარმოებთ ქვეყანა
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