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13 Aug, 2008 22:28

Hospitals inundated by South Ossetian victims

Doctors and psychologists are working around the clock in makeshift hospitals to help thousands of South Ossetians affected by the regional conflict. It may take months for victims to overcome the trauma of the bombardme

Military engineers are searching the city for unexploded shells which pose a mortal danger to civilians and peacekeepers.

A bread factory has been restored in Tskhinvali and food and water are being supplied to residents. A camp has been erected in the city to provide support and radio broadcasts have been launched to keep people informed of the latest news.

Peacekeepers have helped restore the republic’s only hospital. It was shelled during the hostilities, forcing doctors to treat the wounded in the basement.

Meanwhile, South Ossetian authorities say they will take a tough stance on the possible looting of abandoned houses. Two people were reported killed on Wednesday when they were caught looting.

Humanitarian aid

A plane from Moscow carrying thirty-five tonnes of aid for children was sent to the neighbouring Russian republic of North Ossetia. Activists from the United Russia Party collected essentials, including baby food and clothes, for those who remain in refugee camps. Another seven flights are planned for the coming days.

Other countries have joined Russia in providing humanitarian assistance to the devastated republic. According to the Russian emergency ministry, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan are preparing aid to be sent to the area.

Russia mourns

Russia held a day of mourning for those killed during the five days of fighting in South Ossetia on August 13. People from the capital Tskhinvali, which became a battlefield after being attacked by Georgia, are recovering from a nightmare. It’s hard to find a citizen who hasn't lost a relative in the conflict.

A vigil to remember the victims of the violence was held during the night at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

To learn more about the ceremony, please follow link.

Funerals continue to take place in the breakaway republic for those killed during the war with Georgia.

Hundreds of people were hiding underground while the city was under attack, which almost completely destroyed the South Ossetian capital. Now the city is quiet. Most of its residents have fled or died.

Authorities add up the losses… More than 1600 civilians and 74 peacekeepers have been killed in five days of violence. The Russian Defence Ministry estimates the losses for Georgian forces are far higher than they claim.

The Chief Priest of the Province, Father Georgy, says 60% of his parishioners were killed.

“They particularly targeted churches because they knew that people tried to hide there,” he said.  

It will take at least two years to rebuild Tskhinvali, according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry. Moscow is allocating $US 400 million to restore the region and $US 20 million for an emergency search operation.

Russian emergencies Minister Sergey Shoigu said: “If people don't return to their homes and children don't go back to schools and kindergartens on September 1, it means that those who started the war have succeeded in their task. Everything is destroyed. People are gone. Nothing works, nobody lives there. When people and children are gone there is no life.”

“And we cannot allow this to happen. We have to do our utmost for the city to keep on living and developing,” he said.