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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2020 


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West Coast Agency Helps Georgians Displaced By Conflict With Russia

August 12, 2008

Tensions between Russia and its former Soviet Republic of Georgia may have been building for years, but when Russian forces attacked last week, it was a shock to many of the Georgian people. The fighting already has prompted as many as 50,000 to evacuate.

Today, a West Coast humanitarian group is rushing to the aid of Georgians forced to flee their homes. Joy Portella, with Mercy Corps, says her organization has purchased essential food items such as rice, bread and oil, but she is certain the refugees will need much more.

"They basically packed whatever they could carry and left. There are needs for shelter, fuel, blankets--just the basics that people will need to survive."

Mercy Corps is well-prepared for this mission. It has placed aid workers in Georgia since 2000, assisting poor farming families in rural areas by helping them produce more food and connect with markets that would increase their earnings. In fact, Portella says, the nonprofit agency was on the verge of launching a new program when the conflict broke out.

"We were just about to start a program in South Ossetia, working with young people in that area, with the goal of creating a more inclusive, multi-ethnic society."

Mercy Corps has created a section on its Web site to update the Georgian aid efforts and accept donations, at www.mercycorps.org.

Lori Abbott/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CA