The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday they hoped to be allowed access to war-torn South Ossetia shortly, while a UN aid agency reported clashes and the looting of relief vehicles, dpa reported.
Local authorities in the region had signalled that aid workers would shortly be given free and safe passage through the area ravaged by the conflict between Russia and Georgia, ICRC spokeswoman Anna Nelson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Geneva.
However, she added: "There are still reports of clashes, so we will have to be patient." The ICRC was ready to depart as early as Friday with a large-scale aid mission to South Ossetia, leaving from both the Georgian capital Tiblisi and from North Ossetia in Russia.
Meanwhile, two vehicles of the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR were stolen in the South Ossetian town Gori, the UNHCR said Friday in Geneva.
A group of unidentified armed people had stopped the vehicles, threatened the two UNHCR staffers and forced them to hand over the keys, the agency said.
The aid workers remained unharmed and the vehicles were later retrieved, but the incident showed that it was vital to safeguard safe and free movement for refugees and aid workers in the crisis region, the agency said.
The UNHCR insisted it would continue its relief work in the Caucasus. A third plane with mattresses, blankets and cooking equipment was scheduled to land in Tbilisi on Friday.
In total, the agency said it had already brought 66 tons of aid material to the region.
About 115,000 people have been displaced by the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia.