Hi everybody! My name is Eka, I have been working aas a journalist for about 12 years. During the years I have been working as a newsmaker, a reporter, wrote analytic articles, and covered issues in conflicting zones and also investigation stories. Nowadays, I work as a journalist; consultant and media trainer.
The following story is an article that I wrote about a situation in Georgia which needs attention: internally displaced people. As some of you might know, they live in horrible circumstances and face major difficulties. As a journalist, I am one of the few who tries to pay attention to this. You must understand, most georgians don’t know and don’t really care what’s going on with IDPs (internal refugees), but their story needs to be told, and tnat’s what I am trying to do. So, to be frank, and this might be a bit arrogant, this is a story about me, how i try to change the livelihoods of the IDPs through media. I hope you will either accept this story, or another story, from me. I would also love to participate in the workshops you have planned.
An IDP, a socially vulnerable body, mother of a little boy Luka who has passed through 12 surgeries threatens with committing suicide.
“The Ministry of IDPs gave me 100% guarantee that I would receive a living flat, but they left me without shelter again.”
Diagnosis – hydrocephalyd, 12 times operated, including bypass surgery of the head, chained to the bypass apparatus which due to a “vagrant life” and abnormal conditions often breaks down. Operations are needed in succession. No shelter, no hygiene, no treatment, no rehabilitation, no wholesome food; medicines – only sometimes. This is a current state of a 3,6 years old Luka Maghlakelidze. The first operation was made in 1 hour afterthe birth. Since then he needs operations several times per annum.
„Mother of invalid child was left without shelter. We can’t overcome illness…’’
“You started distribution of flats in Temka and didn’t call me, do you? You can’t imagine the extent of such impact. Tomorrow I will go on hunger strike in front of the Ministry of IDPs with my ill, with fevered child . . . How do you behave? I am very irritated and want nothing except for death . . . The whole Georgia will get about my story when I burn myself with my ill child in front of your Ministry. It seems that you don’t evaluate amicable relations. I have been tired of praising and what have you done? I pray for surviving today and tomorrow I know what I should do . . . I hoped that humane people came to the government and we are rescued. . .” This letter was composed by mother of a 3,5 years old Luka, - 24 years old woman InezaGigani and sent to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.
I was one of the addressees of this letter being a former employee of the Ministry of IDPs. I replied on the letter. She was astonished by the fact that she received a humane response. To tell the truth I haven’t written “anything especial”; simply I put myself in her position. According to her, she didn’t expect that somebody would reply. She expressed her gratitude many times, asked for meeting with me and I agreed.
InezaGigani: “Together with a status of an IDP, I have a status of a socially vulnerable body. We live in very poor conditions. . . We have been looking forward to paying attention on us and resolving our problems for many years. Before distribution of flats in Temka among IDPs, I had completed a special questionnaire form. I had a meeting in the Ministry of IDPs with the Deputy Minister and a Head of Department as well. All of them were informed about my state. They gave me 100% guarantee that I would be the first in the list of beneficiaries.”
“Journalist”: Mrs. Ineza, you are in extremely poor conditions. However, the MRA couldn’t provide you with a 100% guarantee for providing accommodation as distribution of flats depends upon the scores fixed in the IDPs Questionnaire Form proceeding from a state of the applicant . . .
I.G.: I was promised by the Deputy Minister that, due to my state, in the process of distribution of flats, I would be the first in the list. I had a meeting with him and even submitted a letter for the Minister. He promised me to hand it to him. I was pregnant that time, and after going there many times I got recurrent miscarriage. I was looking forward the distribution of flats. Counted days, planned a design of a child’s room. I had a hope of his recovery. I hoped that he would live in normal environment, provided with relevant hygiene. I would take care of him and my state would be improved. However, as it was informed by the Ministry, the flats had already been distributed without me.
The letter sent to the Ministry and to other addressees was written exactly that day when she heard about distribution of flats from mass media. She, as she promised in the letter, couldn’t come in the Ministry next day as the state of her child had beenworsened, he had convulsions.
“Mother of an invalid child is left without shelter again. We can’t overcome the illness . . .” – InezaGigani once again.
“He can’t stand up, can’t eat, can’t talk”
Luka had his first surgery on the head when he was only 1,5 months old. Extract from the medical conclusion: “External by-pass operation on the ventricle system was made to the 1,5 months old patient due to ventriculitis on the left side, and when he reached age of 3 months – on the vps right side. Additionally, on 13.01.11 invasion of a by-pass was made due to formation of a cyst. A detailed medical research revealed a 32-33 mm neoplasm on the right ventricle.
General illnesses: “ prenatal sepsis, ventriculitis, congenital hernia of umbilical cord, lagging in psycho-motoric development”, “meningitis in the age of 3 weeks”, “was born with gastroshisis, passed a neurosurgical operation”, “since then the child had 5 neurosurgical operations . . . “
“He can’t hold his head, can’t eat, can’t talk, has his vision worsened…”
“We have a life of vagrants; due to our inhuman conditions we needed so many surgeries. A 3,5 years old child lays all the time. I have no even a baby carriage . . . We need inhaler as problems with breathing were added. But nobody pays attention on us,” – says my respondent.
“Journalist”: Does a police help you as to a socially vulnerable body?
I.G.: We have made 12 operations by that police. We couldn’t finance any of these operations by any way proceeding from lack of recourses. Actually, we grew in the hospital. The child requires rehabilitation but because of the lack of financial resources we can’t start it. Problems with gastrointestinal tract were added as well because of immobility of the child, but we can’t treat it.
“Journalist”: Why did the child need 12 operations, were the illnesses inherent?
I.G. The child was born with gastroshisis (opened stomach). It doesn’t represent a serious problem. The first operation was conducted in one hour since the birth. Later he faced with neonatal sepsis in the hospital which was followed by staphylococcus, and meningitis. And all this resulted in the current illness.
An IDP from OchamchireInezaGigani narrates that she was hiring a flat in Gldani but she couldn’t pay a rent and was forced to leave it. She got married to a non-IDP who is currently unemployed. They have another child. He doesn’t go to kindergarten as after eviction from Gldani they were sheltered by parents settled in Vaziani military settlement. She adds that taking the child to a kindergarten located in Gldani is impossible and the Vaziani kindergarten has no vacant places.
“Luka can move his hands and feet but can’t sit, can’t talk, can’t chew. We take antibiotics all the time. We needed 12 operations due to absence of elementary conditions. An apparatus inserted in the head often breaks down. The child is catching colds and viruses all the time”, - says Ineza.
Reason for refusal of the MRA
As for the process of distribution of living flats conducted by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, this process is provided according to special criteria. An IDP is obliged to fill in a special questionnaire form indicating the whole information which reflects a current state of that IDP. All this is evaluated by scores. At the first stage are satisfied the families having the highest scores received.
We checked information about InezaGigani in the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. The Ministry confirmed that InezaGigani had really participated in all procedures necessary for receiving of a flat, and was evaluated by 7 scores. However, at this stage she hadn’t been provided with the flat.
“InezaGiganicompleted a questionnaire form designed for receiving of living flats, with two children and the non-IDP husband. The form was considered by a relevant Commission and awarded with 7 scores. Socially vulnerable family – 3 scores; a child-invalid of II group – 2 scores; lives in rent – 1 score; often changes living flats – 1 score. While consideration of the questionnaire forms for the Temka site 90 families were awarded 7 scores, among them the Commission selected 11 families.InezaGigani didn’t receive a priority as she delivered a false information concerning to her incomes. In addition, parents of her husband has an own living house located on GiorgiAghmashenebeliave. 33a. Information about number of scores of InezaGigani is already sent on the address indicated in the questionnaire form,” – this was an official information provided by the Ministry.
According to InezaGigani, she can’t understand and nobody explained to her what does the “false information” mean. The Ministry of IDPs explained in words her husband possesses his own flat.
“This is a lie; my husband doesn’t have any flat. If you consider my father-in-law, I and my husband don’t have any relations with him. The space which was recognized as a “false information” by the Ministry is owned by my father-in-law and is burdened with hypothecs; later it was rented by another family. If my father-in-law has something registered, why should I and my children be responsible for this and punished? Besides, we aren’t married officially, and in case of my desire to submit any false information I wouldn’t disclose any information about my husband. As I didn’t follow a false way, fixed actual state why have I got such a result?” – asks Gigani.
As it was investigated by us, several years ago this family was given a living space by the former Government. They lived in Isani military hospital. However, life in the hospital and conditions existing there is another problem, but they were satisfied with obtaining the shelter, but even in such case they weren’t lucky. They had been living there for 6 months and later they were settled out from that shelter.
“The state of the child was worsened and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. Then we moved to parents for rehabilitation for some time as I couldn’t take care of the child in the military hospital due to unsatisfied conditions. When we returned to the military hospital other family had been settled in and our belongings thrown out. I was explained that as I hadn’t been living there I didn’t need it. I don’t know what to do, where to appeal for help . . .” – says Ineza.
Regulation of living conditions is significant in addition to the Luka’s treatment as these problems are interconnected. He doesn’t have conditions necessary for rehabilitation.
As it was stated by InezaGigani, there is no importance of where they will live, she will agree even for a village if there hadn’t been one problem: “Luka often suffers from convulsion. In Vaziani he had lost consciousness two times before emergency came. We met the emergency in Lilo. We are chained with hospital. We will live in any place but because of the state of child we can’t live in a village. Luka will celebrate his 4th birthday soon but his weight is only 9 kg.”
Luka’s medical documents, receipts, prescriptions, researches cover tens of pages. All sheets are started with the following words: “conducted . . .”, “diagnosed . . .”, “needs . . .”. The most painful for parents is the part of medical conclusion where recommendations are indicated for the child as they preliminary know that they won’t fulfill prescription of the doctor. They also know that they will buy medicines only when they will have money, or, buy them only for some days and then terminate the treatment again.
Concerning to the above-stated history we appealed to the apparatus of the Public Defender of Georgia. According to the Deputy Public Defender PaataBeltadze, monitoring of distribution of flats among IDPs will be intensified: “It is very complicated history. The apparatus of the Public Defender often receives similar applications. The family should appeal to us with a letter describing a concrete history. The issue will be considered by specialists and we will be involved into settlement of this issue as much as possible. The apparatus of the Public Defender is going to intensify monitoring of the process of distribution of flats among IDPs and to take more efficient measures from the viewpoint of its monitoring and justice.
P.S. Due to our assistance, one of the non-governmental organizations assigned means for procurement of medicines and food for Luka which will be enough for one month. We will make all efforts to pay more attention on regulation of the stated problem