Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced today (19 August) in Brussels that Germany was doubling its humanitarian aid to Georgia to a total of 2 million euro:
"Following the end of the fighting our top priority must be to alleviate the suffering of the many people who have been injured or forced to flee the conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Since more than 150,000 people have become refugees, we definitely need to do more! Germany has therefore today made a further one million euro available for humanitarian emergency measures."
The Federal Foreign Office had already made one million euro available for relief activities in Georgia early last week. The money was evenly divided between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Red Cross Movement, and is to be spent on providing emergency shelter and medical care. The additional sum earmarked today is intended in particular to fund relief activities by German aid organizations.
Michael von Ungern-Sternberg, Federal Foreign Office envoy for humanitarian aid and reconstruction in Georgia, will accompany Foreign Office experts and specialists from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) on their trip to Georgia from 20 to 21 August. Whilst there, he will see for himself what help is needed, and hand over relief supplies. Talks are planned with representatives of the Georgian Government, international and German aid organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Visits to the areas affected by the conflict are also scheduled.
The humanitarian situation in Georgia remains a cause of concern. UNHCR estimates there are around 158,000 internally displaced persons and refugees who need assistance. The aid organizations still have no access to South Ossetia, and therefore remain unable to assess humanitarian needs in the region.