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Densely Populated IDPs Demand (Drinking) Water and Firewood from the Government

18.10.2007
Approximately 70 IDP families from the village Zedaetseri in the Zugdidi region, Village Zedaetseri demand drinking water and firewood. The IDPs started the preparation process for winter 2 months before winter begins, but they still do not have any hope of receiving help. The IDPs from Abkhazia first requested local and IDP governments to satisfy their needs with regard to their living conditions first and then asked the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement. Their social demands are still unsatisfied.

The IDPs from Abkhazia have been living in their cottages, where during the Soviet period tea was cultivated, for 14 years already. 70 Families live in two-storey cottages. Today, the main problem is how to supply them with water and firewood.

They have been facing these problems for 3 years already. They get drinking water from the spring which is 2 kilometers away. They have to walk a narrow and impenetrable path. Mainly women do this job. They wash their clothes in the spring. Patima Bartaia:”It is a really hard job, we have to get water several times, which causes our women to have gynecological diseases. It is especially difficult in winter when on our children follow us on this terrible path and they get hurt by the thorns.”

The lack of water damaged the sewage system. The rooms smell badly. Worms and frogs are coming out of the pipelines of the sewage system. We are at a risk of and facing infectious diseases. The local infirmary is unsanitary and it does not seem to benefit public health. The sewage systems and water pipelines of the Soviet period are really outdated. Restoration requires a lot of money.

The IDPs tried to solve their problems by their own means 3 months ago. To wells were dug in their district eventhough the water was useless for drinking. Enver Sichinava –“Because of the damaged sewage system dirty water got mixed with the drinking water. Consequently there is no point in cleaning the well before repairing it. We have sent five letters to several institutions but in vain.”

As it turned out the IDPs could not get an answer about the firewood. They have never received any help from the government to provide heat for their families. The family of Barganjia needs 10 cubic meters of firewood for heating and the market price is GEL 600. It is obvious that the IDPs cannot afford the firewood. Nargiza Barganjia: “They made a special list of families, but we have not seen any firewood yet. Women and children collect brushwood from the nearest forest and take it home for heating. The fine on cutting down trees is so high that it is better to sit in a cold room than in jail.”

All the executive powers referred the IDPs to the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement, but finally the Ministry turned out to be powerless as well. The regional departments of the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement in Adjara and Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti requested help from the International Red Cross, UNOMIG and the Danish Council for Refugees.
Levan Mikava, the head of Adjara and Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti’s regional departments of the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement says: “The budget of our Ministry is quite low, that is why we rquested help from international organizations. The International Red Cross promised us to solve the problems concerning the drinking water; the Danish Council for Refugees and UNOMIG will provide the IDPs with firewood. By the December 10 we are expecting 800 cubic meters of firewood. This amount is enough to provide for heating, but we can only wait for it to arrive. We do not know yet if the IDPs will receive the firewood this year or not. We are waiting for the official answers from the international organizations.”

Nana Pazhava, Zugdidi

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