Wednesday 20 August 2008

Georgian war leaves 1492 Ossetians dead - local authorities

Georgian war leaves 1492 Ossetians dead - local authorities

The total number of casualties of the Georgian – South Ossetian conflict has been revealed. According to local authorities the conflict has claimed the lives of 1492 Ossetians.

According to Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Russian Defence Ministry, who was speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, 64 Russian soldiers were killed in action and 323 were wounded.

To watch the full news conference click here.

Meanwhile, more than 5,000 people from South Ossetia are still in refugee camps in the south of Russia.

Approximately 30,000 people fled from Georgia’s offensive on August 8. According to officials, some 15,000 of them have returned over the last week.

Tskhinvali restoration

Russia's Emergencies Ministry says it needs the help of local people to rebuild South Ossetia's devastated infrastructure. Progress is being made and restoration work is in full swing, with the water supply to the capital Tskhinvali having been almost been fully restored. Another key task is to repair broken windows before cold weather sets in.

The authorities have pledged to restore schools before September 1 and hospitals are also at the top of the reconstruction list.

Many foreign journalists have received accreditation to work in the region and are being given guided tours by local officials to show them the scale of the damage and devastation.

Locals’ reaction to the pull-out of Russian troops from Georgia has been negative. They fear with Russian forces out of the region, Georgia might attack again.

Russian combat engineers are still involved in mine-clearing operations in South Ossetia and they're still finding unexploded mines and artillery shells across the region.

Russia is to spend $US 60 million by the end of the year on the reconstruction of South Ossetia’s infrastructure.

The Chechen Republic has also joined the humanitarian aid programme for the region. It is providing food and construction materials.

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