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Three weeks ago, Russian troops invaded the neighboring Republic of Georgia, a small country which rests on the Black Sea. The fighting has resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing their homes for safety. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports on how one Springfield faith-based organization is trying to relieve the pain caused by this conflict.
The fighting is over Georgia's two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia has recognized the independence of those two regions, while the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, maintains that the regions should remain part of his country.
Caught in the crossfire are thousands of civilians who are in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter. In another hemisphere of the world, a Springfield-based humanitarian group, Convoy of Hope, is trying to get aid to those refugees. Convoy of Hope's spokesperson, Jeff Nene, is in Springfield and joined me earlier by phone to talk about his organization's efforts.
Nene said Convoy of Hope is working closely with its partners, both domestically and abroad, to figure out the logistics of what type of relief is needed, and how best to get it to civilians in Georgia.
He says the process involves a lot of teamwork, and a lot of decision-making. The first step, he says, is to assess the situation accurately on the ground.
Convoy of Hope is a local, non-denominational humanitarian group which has provided relief to 103 countries since 1999. For anyone wanting to donate clothes, money, or even stuffed animals to the civilian refugees in Georgia, you can do so by visiting convoyofhope.org.
The United States has criticized Russia for invading Georgia and supporting its breakaway regions. Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to travel to the region for talks in the next few days.