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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 16:03 UK

Despair among Georgia's displaced

By Helen Fawkes
BBC News, Tbilisi

Children at the Dila camp for displaced people, near Tbilisi
The camp is home to some 600 people, including children
At the Dila camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Tbilisi there is still anger and disbelief at the scale of the violence in Georgia.

''Why do we need this fighting and the atrocities? Why are they killing us?'' a woman in her late 50s sobs.

Looking pale and overwrought, this woman is telling her story to David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary who was visiting the Georgian capital.

The woman fled her home in the Gori region during the recent conflict.

''I wish I'd died. I am very anxious about my children, their homes are destroyed," she says.

Some of her family have stayed behind. She told the minister that one of her sons watched as the tanks rolled into their village.

''We had an absolutely beautiful orchard with peaches, beautiful peaches already ripe. Why did they destroy the trees and the garden?'' she asks.

'Killing and intimidation'

The woman and her second son live at the camp.

A woman sleeps at the Dila camp
Residents say they get all the help they need, but the mood is subdued

It is home to about 600 displaced people and has been set up on waste ground.

There are eight giant tents donated by the United States - some draped with massive Georgian flags. Under the canvas there are rows of camp beds on bare concrete.

People told me they are getting all the help they needed, but the mood is subdued.

While the conditions are basic, there is electricity. Some of the tents have black-and-white televisions.

''The stories that are being told are of random violence, stories of killing and intimidation, stories of families being broken up and people fleeing for their lives and the lives of their children,'' Mr Miliband said.

He came to Georgia to see the impact of the conflict for himself.

''Obviously, there is an immediate humanitarian crisis here that needs emergency support," he said.

Giulie's story

Everyday more people arrive in Tbilisi after fleeing their homes.

Giulie Belashvili
Giulie Belashvili says she desperately wants to return to Gori

The Georgian government's co-ordinator for humanitarian affairs, Koba Subeliani, told me more than 230,000 people were believed to have been displaced.

I watched as he was mobbed outside his office in the capital by angry people demanding help with their accommodation.

There are growing concerns here about the humanitarian situation.

And the longer Russian troops stay in Georgia, the worse it is going to get.

Mr Subeliani believes that the Georgian government will be able to help people return home within three days of a withdrawal.

''As soon as we don't see any Russian troops or Russian military machinery and our police force is allowed back onto all of our territory, we will organise transport such as buses and trains to take people back to their home," he says.

"We will wait until we are sure that it's safe for them to return."

Giulie Belashvili, like many of those living at the camp, is sceptical about whether Russia will keep to its word and leave Georgia.

''I want to go home right now. I want to be the first person to be back in Gori, where I fled from when the conflict started. To tell you the truth, who would be happy to live in a camp like this?'' she says.


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