Two years after Georgia’s August 2008 war with Russia, the end of an international food assistance program could put thousands of families displaced by the conflict at risk for hunger, two international aid organizations say.
A lack of donations forced the World Food Programme (WFP), which ran the main free food program for Georgia’s Internally Displaced Families (IDP), to end the handouts in June, roughly a year early, said Mike Huggins, the WFP’s program coordinator in Georgia.
The “WFP is increasingly alarmed that the most vulnerable IDPs . . . will face a very bleak winter,” Huggins said in an email interview with EurasiaNet.org. “Almost all IDPs live below the poverty line and more than 90 percent are dependent on external food aid.”
Approximately 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from formerly Georgian-controlled strips of territory in breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been resettled in nearly 40 settlements since the 2008 war.
Seventy percent of that number received food aid from the WFP; the organization’s program was limited to IDP families who opted for government-provided housing.
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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter and photojournalist based in Tbilisi.