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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 16:16 UK

UN says Georgia refugee camp full

Georgians wait to be registered as refugees in Gori (August 2008)
Some 4,200 people have been registered as internally displaced

The UN says a camp in the Georgian town of Gori has no room for the thousands of people fleeing the conflict over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

The UN's refugee agency said some 4,200 people had been registered as internally displaced by the fighting between Georgia and Russia last month.

It said South Ossetian militias had been driving Georgian residents out of villages near the border.

Some refugees said Russian troops had prevented them from returning home.

Fighting erupted after Georgia sent its army on 7 August to regain control of South Ossetia - a region nominally part of Georgia, but with de facto independence and where a majority of people hold Russian passports.

Russia moved in forcefully, sending troops into South Ossetia and Georgia's other separatist area of Abkhazia. Georgian towns away from the two regions were also bombed.

The conflict has created huge tensions in international relations.

'Marauding militias'

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the current shelter capacity in Gori was "exhausted".

More than 1,000 people are staying in tents in a UNHCR camp that was set up five days ago, while another 1,000 are staying with host families and 2,000 are in reception centres, the UNHCR said.

The agency said 450 people arrived from villages in the so-called "buffer zone" in the past week after "massive intimidation by marauding militias", with reports of beatings and looting.

The remaining 3,750 internally displaced people were blocked from returning to their homes situated in the buffer zones, set up by Russia around South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The zones include sections of the main highway from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, to the Black Sea as well as Georgia's main airbase at Senaki.

Georgia's foreign minister has accused Russia of "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia and in the buffer zones.


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