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“I Will Burn Myself with My Disabled Son in front of Ministry”

February 26, 2014
Internally displaced, socially indigent mother of Luka, who has gone through 12 surgical operations, threats with suicide

Eka Gulua

Diagnosis – hydrocephaly, 12 surgical operations, shunted on the head, attached to the shunting apparatus, which often goes out of order because of “tramp life” and abnormal living conditions. New surgeries after surgeries. No home! No hygiene! No medical treatment! No rehabilitation! No food! He takes medicines time by time – it is present situation of three and half years old Luka.

He was first operated on one hour after birth. Since then, he has been operated several times per year. Luka’s mother, Ineza Gigani, 24, sent letter to the Ministry of IDPs. “You have started distribution of flats in Temka settlement [Tbilisi] but have not called me?! You cannot imagine how you have hurt me! Tomorrow I am starting hunger-strike in front of the ministry together with my sick son! I will sit with my son, who has running temperature, in front of the Ministry! I will kill myself together with my son! I am desperate and have no way out…entire Georgia will learn my case; I will burn myself together with my sick son in front of the Ministry. I was always praising you and how did you do it with me?! I urge god to help me endure this night and tomorrow I know what I will do! I believed people supported me but you are not people!”

This letter was shared in social network. Ineza Gigani is displaced person from Ochamchire, Abkhazia; he is socially indigent person.

I was one of the addressees of her letter, as a former employee of the Ministry. I replied to her. She was surprised with my warm reply and started dialogue with me. To tell the truth, I did not write anything particular to her; I just realized her situation. She agreed to meet me and we met.

Ineza Gigani: “I am an IDP and socially indigent person. We are impoverished family. We have been waiting for our time for years. Before flats were distributed for IDPs in Temka, I filled in special form at the Ministry. Then I met deputy minister and head of department. Everybody was aware of my situation. They promised I will be first on the list of IDPs to receive the flat.”

Despite her hard conditions, the Ministry could not promise Ineza Gigani to give accommodation because the flat distribution depends on the points that is counted according to the information written in the filled in forms.

Ineza Gigani claims the deputy minister promised her to be first on the list of beneficiaries. “I personally met the deputy minister and left letter to the Minister. He promised to give the letter to the Minister. I was pregnant then. Because of my tramp life I had miscarriage and lost child. I was looking forward to flat distribution. I was counting days; virtually arranged child’s room in it. I even hoped for his recovery. I thought he would live in normal environment and we will have hygiene in the house… but I learned the ministry had already distributed flats and left me out.”

Ineza Gigani wrote the letter to the Ministry and others in the evening when she learned about flat distribution from news sources. Next day she could not come to the Ministry because her son felt very bad and cramped.

Luka was first operated on his head at the age of one and half month. It was followed by several serious operations. In addition to that, Luka has some other innate diseases: “new-born sepsis, innate hernia…” “…poor psycho-motor development; he had meningitis at the age of 3 weeks…” “He was born with bowel problem and was operated on. Afterwards, five neurosurgical operations were done on the infant…” “He cannot keep head, cannot stand, eat, speak and has poor eyesight…”

“We live like tramps. He needed so many operations because of our inhuman conditions. Three and half year old child has to lye all day long because we do not have wheelchair either… we need inhalator because of breathing problem but nobody pays attention to us,” the respondent said.

12 surgical operations were covered by Luka’s medical policy. The family could not fund even one operation. However, they need much more support from the state. “In fact, we grew up in hospital. The child needs rehabilitation but we cannot start it because of poverty. Now he has problems of bowels too because he does not move but we cannot afford medical treatment.”

Journalist asked – why the child needed 12 operations and Ineza Gigani answered: “He was born with open abdomen. It was not huge problem. First operation was done one hour after he was born. Then, he had sepsis because of poor conditions in the hospital; then he had staphylococcus and then meningitis. The latter caused difficult disease – hydrocephaly. Now, Luka can move limbs but cannot sit, speak and chew. He permanently gets antibiotics. He needed 12 operations because we live in poor conditions. The apparatus that is installed in his head often goes wrong. Child often gets ill and has viruses.”

Ineza Gigani said they rented a flat in Gldani but when she could not pay rent, the owner sent them out. She has a husband, who is not an IDP but does not work. They have second child, who does not go to kindergarten because the family sheltered their parents’ accommodation in Vaziani military settlement after they were evicted from Gldani. It is impossible to take child to Gldani kindergarten from Vaziani while local kindergartens do not have vacant places and do not accept their child. 

Ministry of Internally Displace People from Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia will assign flats to IDPs according to special criteria. Special forms are filled in, where IDPs write all information reflecting their current conditions. Received information is evaluated and points are granted. Families, who will receive highest points, will receive flats in the first stage. See more information about the procedures in the next publication of the journalistic survey.