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Villages left without water supply and without the possibility to observe sanitary and hygienic regulations

April 26, 2021
Manana Vardiashvili

Some part of the population of the regions of Georgia do not have access to water supplies up to the date. The conditions of the people  left without water supply has even more deteriorated by the situation created under the Coronavirus pandemic, because without water they cannot observe sanitary and hygienic regulations established due to the pandemic. 

“The families with minor children are in especially difficult conditions, who need special care. However, they have no access to clean drinking water. Because of this, the rights of the child are violated,” -  says Anna Chapidze, a lawyer within HRC.

According to the information of  UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the children living in the families where there is no enough space or appropriate conditions, like water supply, sanitary closets and other sanitary means face a particularly big risk of being infected by Coronavirus. According to the study by UNICEF, 29,800 children in Georgia have no utilities at their homes for washing hands with water and soap.  

Among these children are the children living in village Jimastaro of Tskaltubo municipality and village of Kveda Simoneti of Terjola municipality.

The following residents of village Jimastaro of Tskaltubo municipality approached HRC for legal aid: Nino Zukhbaia, Tamar Sharvashidze, Giorgi Sutidze, Nana Simsive and Zviad Sakhelashvili. According to the locals, the population of the village is not supplied with clean drinking water for years, because of which the village is being desolated.

“Our village never had water. Many families have wells and use water from the wells. We do not have it. The neighbor was giving me water from his personal well. When there was a possibility we brought water from Kutaisi,” - says Nino Zukhbaia in a conversation with the representative of HRC, - ”We collect rain water for washing clothes. The problem is that now the wells are dried up. Those who have cars bring water from Kutaisi. The water brought from Kutaisi is not enough for maintaining normal sanitary and hygienic condition at households, to create adequate conditions for children, particularly during such a severe pandemic, or for farming vegetables and doing some work. There was a poultry farm in the village that was closed because of lack of water and insanitary conditions. I have a minor of 13 and we had to move  to Kutaisi. We are renting a flat. It is not easy for us to pay a rent. We are waiting for the day when the village is supplied with water and we will return. We asked many people to solve the problem but up to now there is no way out”.

The same situation is in Village Kveda Simoneti of Terjola municipality. As the locals say, some part of the population does not have water. There are families that do not have wells and have to collect rain water for household purposes. 

HRC connected Manuchar Robakidze, the first deputy of the Mayor of Terjola, to clear up the existing situation in Kveda Simoneti village. 

“70 families live in Kveda Simoneti that do not have water supply. The local authorities are informed about the problem.
We intend to supply these families with water from the village Bardubani water reservoir. However, we have neither funds allocated for these works in the budget for this year nor we have a project. I cannot say exactly at this stage when this problem could be solved,” - stated Robakidze. 

HRC representative also spoke to Tariel Tsertsvadze, the representative of the Mayor in Kveda Simoneti. Tsertsvadze stated that he was no longer the representative of the Mayor already for several days.  However, he provided some information concerning the problem existing in the village: “There are 820 households residing in Kveda Simoneti. The most of the village has water supply. About 60 to 80 families are left without water. The hardest conditions are in Ambroladze’s and Putkaradze’s neighborhoods. They could not supply these neighborhoods with water up the date. The local as well as central authorities are informed about this problem. However, nobody can tell you when the problem could be solved”.

According to the HRC lawyer Anna Chapidze, under the severe epidemiological conditions existing in the country due to the Coronavirus, part of the population of  the village Jimastaro of Tskaltubo municipality and village Kveda Simoneti of Terjola municipality is exposed to particularly bad conditions: “ The families left without water supply do not have possibility to observe the sanitary and hygienic regulations in force due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. These families have minor children needing special care. However, they have no access to clean drinking water. Because of this, the rights of the child are violated; such rights include a preferential consideration of the best interests of a child, ensuring for them a life and development, equality and appropriate standards of living.  These basic rights of children acknowledged and guaranteed under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and on the national level  under the Code on the Rights of the Child made effective since September 1, 2020.”

Because of the harsh conditions in village Jimastaro, on November 30 and December 12, 2020, Anna Chapidze petitioned to the Government of Georgia, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, the Mayor’s Office of Tskaltubo and Tskaltubo Sakrebulo (City Council). The lawyer received the answer from the Mayor’s Office that the expenses for arranging the network of drinking water in Village Jimastaro of Tskaltubo municipality is already envisaged in the budget and at the present moment the documents of the project cost estimates are being agreed with the water supply company.

Concerning the provision of drinking water to the population of village Kveda Simoneti left without water supply, Anna Chapidze made a special appeal to the Government of Georgia, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, the Mayor’s Office of Terjola and Terjola Sakrebulo (City Council).  The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure addressed the Mayor’s Office of Terjola to react on the issue. However, the Mayor’s Office informed the Ministry that it is already planned to arrange water infrastructure in the village in accordance with the action plan, but “at this stage there are no necessary funds in the budget for solving the problem”.

Human Rights Center is implementing the project "Free Legal Advocacy and Human Rights Monitoring after the Coronavirus Pandemic" with the assistance of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia. The objective of the project is to identify the alleged facts of violations of human rights during the state of emergency announced for the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, and in the post-pandemic period, and to raise the awareness concerning these matters in Tbilisi and five regions of Georgia - Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Imereti and Samegrelo.