GENEVA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations
refugee agency or UNHCR said on Monday it was mounting an emergency airlift of
relief supplies for those displaced in the South Ossetia conflict.
The first airlift flight, carrying 20,000 blankets
and other aid items, is scheduled to fly from UNHCR's central emergency
stockpile in Dubai to Georgia overnight Monday, the Geneva-based agency said in
A second flight is planned for Wednesday from
Copenhagen -- another of the agency's central logistical hubs. Altogether, the
two flights will carry humanitarian supplies for up to 30,000 people.
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio
Guterres on Monday approved the release of 2 million U.S. dollars from UNHCR's
emergency reserve to cover possible new needs in the region. More staff are also
Guterres also reiterated his earlier call over the
weekend for humanitarian access and safe passage for uprooted civilians.
"Our main concern as UNHCR is with the safety of the
civilians, both displaced and non-displaced, and with humanitarian access with
the possibility for us to help those in distress -- especially the uprooted," he
"We have mobilized our financial resources and our
humanitarian resources. Airlifts are starting with relief items to be able to
help people. But we need to be able to get to them," he added.
Georgian troops began a military action against South
Ossetia's forces last week in an attempt to re-establish control over the
region. In response, Russian troops moved into the region to fight the Georgian
Russia said the conflict has killed 1,500 people and
the death toll is expected to rise.