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10 Aug, 2008 03:43

Evacuated kids fear for their parents’ lives

Russia's Emergency Ministry has sent a convoy of 30 vehicles with 120 tonnes of supplies to the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. That’s where the majority of those who fled the conflict are seeking refuge. Many children are among them.

The republic's capital, Vladikavkaz, provides temporary shelter from the war as Russia continues to evacuate casualties from the conflict zone.

Russian PM, Vladimir Putin, who cut short his visit to the Beijing Olympics to oversee the relief effort, visited Vladikavkaz on Saturday.

In what he described as a humanitarian disaster, Putin said that about 44,000 people from South Ossetia had already crossed the Russian border.

Evacuee Fatima Khaseva described why she left her home in Tskhinvali:

“The Georgians were bombing up heavily through the night so we fled because we were afraid of dying. We came to Vladikavkaz by bus along the mountain roads because the main road was under fire,” she said.

But many people remain trapped in the conflict zone, unable to leave because of the Georgian army are reportedly continuing to shell the main evacuation routes. 

Many of the children evacuated from South Ossetia on the first day of the conflict are taking shelter in Vladikavkaz schools. They’re desperate for news about the fate of their parents. Mothers and fathers readily separated from their children in order to save their lives.

With power lines destroyed in South Ossetian villages, there’s no way they can contact their families. And official information is hard to come by.

Those evacuated say they hope that Russia will bring the war to an end soon.

Russian army general Vladimir Boldarev said his forces had reached the conflict zone and were: “undertaking an operation to restore peace.”

“We are pushing the Georgian army out of the peacekeeping zone. But we will continue to evacuate hundreds of civilians,” he said.

Local North Ossetians in Vladikavkaz are donating clothes and food to the evacuees.