*[Enwl-eng] [cenn] 26 years of admirable resilience from 47 eco-migrants families living in alarming insalubrious conditions

ENWL.Bellona enwl.bellona at gmail.com
Fri May 22 01:56:41 MSD 2015

This programme is funded by the European Union

26 Years of Admirable Resilience From 47 Eco-Migrants Families Living in 
Alarming Insalubrious Conditions: When Can They Expect a Durable Housing 

“Doubletalk is a harsh reality in our country, we’ve been waiting for 4 
governments in a row to fulfill their promise.” Says one of the inhabitants 
of the Elevator settlement on the outskirt of Marneuli bitterly.

In 1989, 47 families had to reluctantly start a painful journey from Java 
district to a technical school building in Marneuli, after their homes were 
destroyed by an earthquake.

Resettled in Marneuli, they found upon their arrival an open field with the 
two two-story buildings of a technical school standing in the middle. The 
empty classrooms were rearranged into bedrooms and kitchens, getting more 
crowded as they years passed by. Today this 'residential' building inhabited 
by the Elevator community is in a very critical state, offering insalubrious 
living conditions to x people, while the houses promised to them by 4 
consecutive governments remain to be seen.

CENN, is implementing the “Eco-migration: dialogue and cooperation in the 
South Caucasus countries for better life” project, with the financial 
support (427,728 EUR) from the European Union. This project aims to support 
initiation and successful systemic reform implementation in the field of 
ecomigration in the South Caucasus countries by strengthening the capacities 
of the civil society actors and enhancing structured and inclusive 
multi-stakeholder dialogue at the national and regional levels.

As part of its project monitoring responsibilities, the EU Delegation to 
Georgia approached CENN on a mission from its EU Headquarters to visit some 
of the activities implemented by CENN within the framework of the EU funded 

A visit to the Elevator settlement in Marneuli was arranged, along with a 
meeting in the settlement with local authorities and the CENN project 
manager.  The EU representatives were briefed on the situation in the 
Elevator community by both eco-migrants and local officials.

“We’ve lived through four consecutive governments, all of them promising to 
build a shelter for us, but we’ve been hearing these promises for 26 years 
and now the building we’ve been living in is collapsing in front of our 
eyes. We recently visited the Kvemo Kartli Governor’s Office where we were 
told some German foundations were eager to build houses for us, but then 
these foundations disappeared. “Doubletalk is a harsh reality in our 
country, we’ve been waiting for 4 governments in a row to fulfill their 
promise. Should the building collapse and kill people before someone finally 
pays attention to us?” – says a resident of Elevator, Rita Beridze.

The EU representatives engaged with the Community and personally visited the 
inside of the building and one dwelling of an eco-migrant. They could 
observe that the building where the eco-migrants reside is in a very 
advanced stage of dilapidation with very poor sanitary conditions  and 
growing cracks on supporting walls that pose a severe risk to the 
inhabitants’ lives.

“The visit to the settlement has been an eye-opener to the dire living 
conditions that these Eco-migrants are still experiencing almost 25 years 
after being relocated from their village of origin due to a natural 
disaster. The EU is obviously aware about the very poor state of certain 
collapsing collective centres (CCCs) since their closure is part of the 
conditions for the release of budget support. Yet the visit to the Elevator 
settlement and discussions with the eco-migrants/IDPs and the 
representatives of the municipality raised deep concerns about the hazards 
that inhabitants from the settlement face on a daily basis. The fact that 
this settlement was not listed amongst the CCCs and the absence of prospects 
for durable housing solutions for the 47 families, even after 25 years, was 
unexpected.” relayed the EU representatives to CENN after their visit.

“We believe that meeting with IDPs and eco-migrants will give colleagues 
based in Brussels a better insight into the challenges that the EU funded 
IDP IV program is aimed at addressing.”

For twenty years, the EU has been funding programmes to support people 
affected by armed conflicts in Georgia, with the objective of improving 
living conditions of affected populations. The EU has been supporting the 
implementation of IDP Action Plans since 2008, with three targeted budget 
support operations amounting to more than €100 million. These programmes, 
informally called "IDP I","IDP II" and "IDP III", initially focused on 
enabling the GoG to quickly respond to the emergency needs for shelter for 
the "new case load IDPs".

However, over the past years, EU support has moved from short-term 
humanitarian assistance to a medium-term, developmental perspective. Instant 
shelter provision has given the way to durable housing and the establishment 
and maintenance of community infrastructures. Direct food assistance has 
been replaced by longer-term socio-economic integration of IDPs and 
livelihood programmes.

After the meeting in Elevator community, the EU Delegation to Georgia, 
together with CENN, addressed all relevant agencies for mediation on the 
issue of the eco-migrants residing in Elevator community. This mediation was 
specifically aimed at the evaluation of the settlement to be undertaken and 
engaging into a participatory approach to finding Durable Housing Solutions.

“Since 2013, within the project, we’ve managed to solve a number of problems 
for the families living in the settlement: a road was built, a mini-bus 
route was appointed and a regular household waste collection service 
(previously rendered once every four years) started to function on a regular 
basis. However, fundamental changes still need to happen with regards to the 
adoption of a legal status for eco-migrants. Since there is no systematic 
approach towards the issue at present, we solve separate cases, while 
fundamental issues requiring the allocation of resources still remain a 
problem. Eco-migrants living in the settlement of Elevator live in 
conditions that are not only unbearable, but even life-threatening. This 
requires an immediate response from both the local and central government” – 
said Kateryna Poberezhna, the CENN project coordinator.

Leaders of local self-governments attending the meeting shared all available 
information with the EU delegation members and offered their full 

IDP IV: Programme in support to conflict affected/displaced population and 
host communities in Georgia. €15 mln Budget support, €10,466 mln 
complementary support. Implementing partners: MRA, Human Dynamics (Technical 
Assistance), DRC/CHCA and ACF (livelihood projects), FAO.

For more information please contact:

kateryna.poberezhna at cenn.org <mailto:kateryna.poberezhna at cenn.org>

T +995 32 275 19 03/04
F +995 32 275 19 05
 <mailto:info at cenn.org> info at cenn.org
 <http://www.cenn.org/> www.cenn.org

From: "Info CENN" <infocenn at cenn.ge>
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 2:52 PM
Subject: [cenn] 26 years of admirable resilience from 47 eco-migrants 
families living in alarming insalubrious conditions

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