An MSF emergency team based in Tbilisi has been able to gain access to the separatist province of South Ossetia and visit Tskhinvali Hospital. MSF, which already provides support to displaced people in Tbilisi, has offered to provide medical assistance in South Ossetia. On August 23 an MSF team was able to gain access to Tskhinvali in Southern Ossetia, visiting the republican hospital in this city where intense fighting broke out on August 7. The situation has been slowly returning to normal in the aftermath of the peace accord signed by Russia and Georgia. Up until now, however, access to Tskhinvali, the “capital” of the separatist province of South Ossetia, had been impossible; MSF was not authorized to go there. Finally, on August 23, an MSF team was able to visit Tskhinvali hospital, where it met with that institution’s directors. “The two deputy medical directors told us that local medical teams had been coping with the emergency under highly difficult circumstances”, said Filipe Ribeiro, emergency program coordinator, “ and that the Russian authorities had very quickly rushed large quantities of material assistance to the scene”. During the visit the MSF emergency team noted that a field hospital had been set up under tents within the confines of the republican hospital. The most severe cases have been transferred to North Ossetia, and relief supplies have come in from Russia as well. In spite of this, “The exact nature of any additional possible needs hasn’t been determined yet”, said Filipe Riberio. Discussions are continuing as to what assistance MSF can offer health care centers and other hospitals in South Ossetia. MSF  hopes that our team will be allowed to come back to Tskhinvali to conduct more assessments there and in other areas to see precisely what the needs are. MSF activities in Georgia In addition, the clashes in Georgia have caused massive displacement. MSF emergency teams in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, have been treating patients in many sites where displaced persons have gathered. MSF doctors have seen 497 patients since August 14. In addition the teams have distributed 113 kits for babies (pillows, talcum powder, etc.) and 582 hygiene kits. The hygiene kit is a sealed packet that includes soap, toothpaste, sanitary towlettes, washing detergent, candles, matches, drinking cups, etc. Needs are being assessed in other regions in Georgia (Imeretia and Samegrelo), where support is expected to be delivered soon.

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