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Europe

EU Gives Georgia Aid 5-million-Euro Boost

The European Commission pledged 5 million euros ($7.4 million) in emergency aid to victims of the war in Georgia, boosting its aid to the region six-fold.

Two women comfort each other at a refugee camp in South Ossetia

The EU has asked Russia for access to all the people in need in Georgia

The funds are intended to provide food aid, shelter, emergency water and sanitation facilities, and emergency equipment such as blankets, cooking utensils and hygiene kits, a press release from the European Union's executive said on Friday, Aug. 22.

They are also meant to provide training to civilians, especially children, in how to identify and avoid mines and unexploded shells, and to support mine-clearance activities in the war-torn country.

The funding comes on top of 1 million euros' worth of aid which the commission sent Georgia on August 10, while fighting still raged between Georgian and Russian troops in and around the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia.

The funding is aimed at supporting war victims and refugees in South Ossetia, Georgia and southern Russia, the statement said.

Russia still blocking some areas

However, access to many of those populations remains difficult, as Russian military forces still control entry to South Ossetia.

"Access to the conflict-affected areas remains the most serious constraint to our humanitarian response. I call upon the Russia authorities to ensure that humanitarian aid workers have full and safe access to the people in need," EU Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said.

The commission aid comes on top of bilateral aid, mainly in the form of equipment and expertise, from individual EU member states.

EU members from the former Communist bloc, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, have been particularly forthcoming, as they see Georgia as a strategic partner and have repeatedly called for it to be brought into the EU and NATO.

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