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14 Aug, 2008 07:51

Ruined Tskhinval picking up the pieces

With the ceasefire announced, residents of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinval are trying to gather what is left of their lives.

The city was severely damaged by the Georgian attack, which left no single building intact. Several residential areas were levelled to the ground.

The estimated damage runs to billions of dollars, with most of the money being provided by Russia. More humanitarian aid is on the way.

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

Rescue workers with sniffer dogs are still trying to find people who it’s hoped might still be alive under the rubble.

A bread factory has been restored in Tskhinval 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.