GENEVA -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concern on Tuesday about the grave impact that the recent conflict in and around Georgia's South Ossetia with Russia has had on women and children.
Displaced children and women have had "their whole world turned upside down", and they are anxious and insecure, said Maria Calivis, UNICEF's regional director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Many women and children "are living in very difficult conditions and need special care and support to return to normal life," said Calivis, following a visit to the region.
She emphasized the importance of children returning to classes as quickly as conditions permit.
"Giving children the hope of returning to school provides a sense of normality and hope for the future," she said.
Calivis said UNICEF humanitarian assistance had been made available to the South Ossetia region from the first days of the crisis, targeting the health, nutrition, water and sanitation and psycho-social needs of displaced children and women in collective centers.
She called on the international donor community to continue to contribute generously in order to provide much-needed assistance. She also urged national authorities of Georgia and Russia to ensure effective delivery of the aid to all children.