Aid Sought for Refugees in South Ossetia

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 14, 2004 ( Caritas Internationalis is providing emergency aid to 2,500 internally displaced persons, 70% of them children, from Georgian villages in South Ossetia, a region bordering Russia.

In a statement issued from Vatican City, Caritas, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service groups, launched an appeal on behalf of the Georgians to raise about $180,000.

Upon visiting the displaced persons, Caritas immediately sent two truckloads of food, medicines, clothes, blankets, bed linens, and school kits and toys. Most of these supplies will run out soon.

The appeal funds will be used to send more supplies over the next two months, including winter clothes, firewood and wood stoves.

In early August, militants attacked several villages in South Ossetia. Immediately after the fighting, the women and children of the villages were evacuated to centers set up by the Georgian government. For more than a decade ethnic Georgians have been housed in refugee centers, in poor living conditions, to escape violent conflicts.