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Into Unstable Territory

September 3, 2008

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Our team continues to deliver humanitarian assistance to villages within the “buffer zone” controlled by Russian soldiers. Mercy Corps decided to go to the second border post of this unstable territory, the village of Karaleti.

Just yesterday, it was not possible to enter this village — we needed to negotiate with the Russian peacekeepers first. This is why we made an agreement on September 2 and then went to the villages Karaleti, Didi Garejvari and Patara Garejvari on September 3, early in the morning, as fixed by the protocol.

Here in Kareleti, men and elderly people also prevailed. Those who are returning from Gori did not bring their family members, fearing the theft and looting that is continuing here. Just recently, more than six cars have been stolen and various households broken into. Several blocks of apartments, houses and shops have been burned to the ground.

There is only one shop functioning in the village. No groups came here to offer assistance before Mercy Corps. The local government has brought flour only once.