British charity launches aid appeal for Georgia war victims

Other News Materials 13 August 2008 00:50 (UTC +04:00)

British charity Save the Children on Tuesday launched an appeal for one million dollars (670,000 euros) in funds to help thousands of children and their families displaced by the Georgia-Russia conflict, the AFP reported.

The organisation said around 3,000 families had been affected by Russia's military onslaught on Georgia.

"We're concerned for the safety of thousands of children who have had to leave their homes and villages with their families," said Tom Vincent, the charity's country director in Georgia.

"It is likely that some children will have been separated from their parents in the confusion and if so, these children will be particularly vulnerable and in need of support."

Vincent added that international access to western Georgia and the separatist enclave of South Ossetia -- at the heart of the conflict -- was "very limited".

He said that Save the Children's "biggest priority is to provide clean water and shelter to internally displaced people through 11 ... sites."

Save the Children said it had already purchased food for 1,600 people for a 10-day period which would be distributed at camps where displaced families are currently housed.

It is also planning to purchase medicine for hospitals running short on supplies.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to Russia's offensive against Georgia Tuesday, but the Tbilisi government has reported new attacks and there has been a wary international response.

Russian troops and tanks poured into Georgia on Friday after the Georgian army launched an offensive last week to regain control of South Ossetia, the Moscow-backed region which broke away from Tbilisi in the early 1990s.

Russia says the conflict has left more than 2,000 civilians dead, while the United Nations estimates some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes.