UN Airlift Arrives in Georgia–UN Estimates 100,000 Uprooted from Conflict

The first United Nations flight carrying humanitarian aid since fighting broke out in South Ossetia on Thursday arrived in Tiblisi, Georgia today. From the UN News Center:

The Boeing 707 cargo plane, chartered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is the first UN humanitarian flight to reach the country since heavy fighting erupted last Thursday between Georgian and South Ossetian forces, leading to a large number of casualties and the displacement of thousands. Russian forces have since become involved in South Ossetia, and in Abkhazia in the northwest.

The flight brought 34 tonnes of tents, jerry cans, blankets and kitchen sets from UNHCR’s central emergency stockpile in Dubai. A second UNHCR flight is scheduled tomorrow from Copenhagen, another of its central logistical hubs.

“The two flights will provide more than 70 tonnes of aid supplies for up to 30,000 people and will augment other relief items already distributed by UNHCR from its warehouses in Georgia,” the agency’s spokesperson, Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

According to the latest figures provided by Georgia and Russia, the total number of people uprooted in the conflict is approaching 100,000, UNHCR said. Officials in North Ossetia, Russia, say some 30,000 people from South Ossetia have fled to that Russia region.

Read more. Also, see Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money. He’s posted some interesting commentary on what the outbreak of conflict means for the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention.