192,000 Uprooted During Georgia Conflict
Revised UN Estimates Show 192,000 Uprooted During Georgia Conflict
Some 192,000 people were forced to flee their homes during the conflict that broke out last month in Georgia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today, as it released details of a recent assessment of internally displaced people in the Caucasus country.
Previous figures by UNHCR put at 158,000 the number of those uprooted from their homes as a result of the conflict that began on 8 August and involved Georgia, South Ossetian and Russian forces.
Of the total 192,000 people uprooted, 127,000 are displaced in Georgia proper, 30,000 within South Ossetia, and another 35,000 fled to North Ossetia (Russia), according to the new estimates.
“Of the 127,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia, 68,000 have since returned home,” the agency’s spokesperson, Ron Redmond, told reporters in Geneva.
“UNHCR and the Georgian Government estimate that another 5,000 will go home before the onset of winter, bringing up the number of returnees to 73,000,” he added.
Of the remaining 54,000 IDPs, UNHCR estimates that 23,000 will need shelter through the winter before they can return home and their houses will be rebuilt next year.
“However, the remaining 31,000 individuals are not expected to return in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Redmond said.
With the 223,000 IDPs from previous conflicts that Georgia was already hosting, this new group brings to 254,000 the total number of internally displaced in the country.
UNHCR also reported today that it is stopping spontaneous relocations of IDPs from the capital, Tbilisi, to the tented camp in Gori, which is already overcrowded with some 2,200 people. The agency wants to reserve remaining tents in camp for those IDPs who have no one to support them, said Mr. Redmond.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday indicated the possibility of dispatching a UN fact-finding mission to Georgia. While the details of mission have not been finalized, he said it would comprise both humanitarian and human rights elements. The team would be lead by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with the participation of other UN agencies.