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IDPs Sleep on the Floor

25.09.2009
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

According to the official information 138 million GEL is envisaged in the 2009 budget to improve the living conditions for the IDPs from Abkhazia. Eviction of the IDPs from their shelters has started 16 years after they fled from Abkhazia. The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation moved 37 IDP families previously residing in the building of former tourist company in Telavi to the building of vocational college in the same city. The IDPs do not have electricity and gas supply in the new building. The drinking water is also supplied very rarely. Most of IDPs sleep on the floor because there is not enough furniture in the building.

Darejan Panchavidze, an IDP from Abkhazia: “The purpose of moving us from the old shelter was improving of our living conditions. The rehabilitation activities were carried out in the building of the vocational collage; the walls and doors are painted, the new floor was paved but we do not have electricity and gas supply. We are sitting in the darkness and do not know when we will be supplied with electricity. They promise the problem will be resolved soon but the promise is not kept yet.”

Jana Merabishvili, an IDP from Abkhazia: “I have five children, I do not have a bed either and my children cannot sleep properly. They are sleeping on the floor. We have no heating either. Thus, I do not know how we will live in winter.”

The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation does not have information about the problems of the IDPs from Abkhazia residing in Telavi. An official from the Ministry Gvazava told the IDPs on the phone that they will supply the building with electricity in near future.

According to the statistics 220 000 IDP families from Abkhazia live in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia. They are divided in three categories: IDPs living in collective centers, IDPs renting flats and IDPs sheltering at relatives’. According to the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation, 400 collective centers will be assigned to IDPs in 2009. This project will satisfy more than 50 000 IDPs. In December of 2008 the government of Georgia worked out the strategy to improve living conditions of IDPs and to integrate them in the society. According to the strategy the process shall finish in 2010; though part of the IDPs refuse to change their shelters.

For example, new shelter was renovated in the village of Bakurtsikhe in Gurjaani district for the IDPs living in the resort-house Akhtala in Gurjaani but the IDPs have not moved there yet.

Koba Subeliani, Minister of Refugees and Accommodation, clarified that the reason for their refusal was providing incorrect information to them. “Part of IDPs refused to move to another shelters. I think somebody gave them incorrect information; somebody told them they could get money instead new accommodations. Many IDPs accepted our offer and the new accommodations will be registered on them as private property.”

-Could not you satisfy the request of the IDPs and give the sums to them? With that money they could purchase houses of their own?

-For example, two years ago IDPs were evicted from the Telavi based hotel “Inturist”. The investor paid them money but people could not buy houses with that money. Besides that, donor organizations recommend the government to assign houses to the IDPs.”

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