US releases 250,000 dollars for emergency aid in Georgia

Published: Monday August 11, 2008

The United States has made available 250,000 dollars in aid for ally Georgia aimed at providing emergency supplies for thousands of people affected by the Georgia-Russia conflict, the State Department said Monday.

The United States began bringing the urgently needed humanitarian aid to Georgia, but "it is expected that supplies (distributed by the US embassy in Tbilisi) will be exhausted by the end of the day" Monday, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

The embassy issued a disaster declaration Sunday "releasing 250,000 dollars in initial funding that can provide emergency relief supplies that can assist up to 10,000 people," Wood told reporters.

Washington expects to raise the amount of aid as needed, he added.

Some medicines and other emergency supplies remained at pre-positioning sites in Germany, and US officials were consulting with the United Nations to have the supplies transported to Georgia as soon as possible, said Wood.

The US embassy in Tbilisi has already distributed emergency supplies that had been prepared for use in the aftermath of a natural disaster: tents, blankets and sheets, hygiene kits, clothes, beds and medicines.

Tensions have flared since Russia sent thousands of troops, tanks and air support into South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia launched an offensive to seize control of the breakaway province.

The conflict has since escalated sharply, and on Monday dozens of Russian warplanes staged air raids in Georgia while Georgian forces shelled South Ossetia.