EUMM - European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia

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We Can`t Fight the Winter, But We Can Fight its Consequences

13.11.2008
The EU Monitoring Mission has been working here for more than a month now, almost two. We have been met with friendship, curiosity, caution... hardly ever with hostility. We are guests in Georgia, and Georgia has a reputation for hospitality. We have visited hundreds of towns, villages, hamlets, talked with thousands of people; officials, politicians, military, old, young, women, men... We have heard their stories and taken them to our hearts.

We're doing our job, but there is still an enormous amount of work to be done. There are still issues that need to be handled . Apart from the obvious political and diplomatic issues, there is still the situation of those people displaced from their homes, and the problem of unexploded ammunition in the areas where the war took place. But maybe the most urgent problem right now is the approach of winter.

During the August war crops were destroyed, in some areas unexploded ammunition has made it impossible to carry out the harvest. Checkpoints have been set up, hindering people from collecting firewood. Livestock is stuck on pastures behind checkpoints and can't be herded back for the winter. No harvest, no firewood, no livestock – the coming winter could be very hard for those struggling with the cold and lack of supplies.

The biggest problem is the lack of freedom of movement. A political problem. We are therefore working hard to make sure that people can move freely, to collect firewood, to herd livestocks, to harvest their crops. This winter will be a test for all of us: on our ability to bring about cooperation with all sides of the administrative boundary lines, for everyone's benefit.

The winter does not recognize boundaries, countries or ethnicities. We will do all we can to play our part in tackling the hardships of the approaching winter.