The majority of Georgia’s territory is mountainous, and floods, debris flows, landslides and avalanches occur regularly, severely affecting local communities. The lowland regions, such as Kolkheti and Samtskhe-Javakheti as well as Shida Kartli, Imereti, Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli are prone to droughts and strong winds heavily affecting local communities and greatly damaging the agricultural business and crop lands. Strong wind, heavy rain and hailstorm that took place in Kakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions in 2012, resulted in damages of up to 150 million GEL and caused loss and infrastructural damage to over 20,000 households. The flooding in Tbilisi on 13 June 2015 proved that not only rural parts of the country are at high risk of natural disasters.
In addition to the country’s vulnerability towards natural disasters, Georgia suffers from challenges related to ‘frozen conflicts’ in two of its breakaway regions – South Ossetia and Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia – affecting nearly 20 per cent of the country’s territory. Due to this situation, presently there are more than 275,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) registered in Georgia (corresponding to more than 7% of the whole population) who are living throughout diverse regions of the country. However, the registration process and obtaining official status as an IDP is optional and a certain number of the displaced population is not willing to claim IDP status. Therefore, the precise number of the displaced due to conflicts is not ascertained and is allegedly higher.
In line with its role as outlined in the United Nations Partnership for Sustainable Development Framework Document – Georgia (UNPSD), in 2018, IOM plans to provide support to conflict-affected displaced communities (IDPs) residing in diverse settlements and in the vicinity of the Administrative Border Line (ABL) as well as in disaster prone, mountainous areas of the country. The envisaged support will include three core interventions: 1. IDP communities will be empowered through livelihood and income generation, with special consideration for environmentally friendly small businesses and entrepreneurship; 2. Resilience of vulnerable communities residing in disaster prone areas will be enhanced through community-based capacity building to prevent natural disasters and ensure that mechanisms for preparedness and efficient response to disasters at the community level are in place; 3. IOM will support the Government of Georgia in increasing the uptake of health services by IDP and migrant populations at the point of care. This will ensure improvement in Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Quality (AAAQ) of essential healthcare services for vulnerable migrant populations.
IOM is co-leading the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster together with UNHCR and is also a member of the Health, Shelter and Early Recovery clusters. IOM works in Georgia in coordination with the Government of Georgia and all of the respective line ministries affiliated to the area of migration management. IOM cooperates closely with all relevant UN Agencies to ensure humanitarian needs of vulnerable conflict-affected and migrant populations are duly addressed.