Date Published: 22 August 2008

Nearly 40,000 children in need of urgent assistance in Georgia

UNICEF today voiced its concern over the situation of nearly 40,000 children affected by the conflict in Georgia.

The UN agency warned that living conditions, psycho-social issues and nutrition had become threats to the well-being of displaced children.

UNICEF's Representative in Georgia, Giovanna Barberis, said that according to UNICEF assessments, the collective centers where children live are not suitable for habitation. They do not satisfy minimum requirements for sanitation, hygiene and building safety. Most of the centers are located in dilapidated buildings, which often have no toilets, no glass in the windows, sporadic electricity and running water.

?The infants living there urgently need complimentary food, and the older children require nutrition-rich food such as fruit and vegetables. There is also a need for diapers and other hygiene supplies, as well as recreational equipment. Instances of head lice, chicken pox, and fungal infections have been reported. There is virtually no regular health services, or access to medicine, nor psycho-social support?, she said.

The UNICEF assessment teams reported evidence of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as wide-scale sleep disorders among the children in the visited centres. The majority of children were experiencing emotional distress, as many were going through very difficult conditions. Fears, insomnia, neurosis and headaches were common complaints reported by children.

Barberis stated that the trauma experienced during this period would have a negative impact on children and may have long-lasting effects.

In terms of specific health requirements for the displaced children, UNICEF reports there will shortly be a need for medicine and immunization services.


Source: UNICEF Main Website.
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