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Interior Minister Briefs on IDP Housing Plans
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 13 Sep.'08 / 18:46

In a capacity of chief coordinator of post-conflict reconstruction efforts, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, said on Saturday, that the government was launching building houses for internally displaced persons starting from September 14.

President Saakashvili tasked Merabishvili to coordinate reconstruction efforts on September 10.

Merabishvili said at a news conference on September 13, that the government, as part of its 18-month reconstruction program, “is building and rebuilding” houses for internally displaced persons who fled the Georgian villages inside breakaway South Ossetia.

“The move aims at creating normal conditions of life for them,” Merabishvili said.

He said that construction of houses for this group of IDPs – for those who fled the Georgian villages, which are located inside South Ossetia - would start at about 20 locations throughout Georgia, mainly in Shida Kartli, the region adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia. Merabishvili pointed out that some state-owned buildings at various locations would be reconstructed for housing purposes as well.

The Georgian government, Merabishvili continued, would also launch rebuilding of damaged houses in the villages, which are located in the north from Gori and which are currently occupied by the Russian forces, as soon as the Russian troops withdraw from there. Russia has undertaken commitment to pull troops from those areas adjacent to South Ossetia no later than October 10.

UN refugee agency said on September 12 that although most of the IDPs were able to return back to their homes, there were 54,000 IDPs still remaining. The agency said that 23,000 of them would need to be provided with alternative shelter through the winter months, but will be able to return home in 2009 once their houses have been rehabilitated,” the agency said in a press release.

“However, the remaining 31,000 individuals are not expected to return in the foreseeable future,” it said, adding that most of them were from the Georgian villages inside South Ossetia.

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