|UMCOR co-sponsors airlift to Republic of Georgia|
Donated medical supplies are unloaded at the airport
in Tbilisi, Georgia. The airlift was sponsored by the United Methodist
Committee on Relief, Project Hope and the U.S. State Department and will
help more than 90,000 patients in the Caucasus region. UMNS photos by
Gia Chkhatarashvili, UMCOR.
By Linda Beher*
Sept. 18, 2007 | TBILISI, Georgia (UMNS)
An airlift sponsored by the United Methodist Committee on Relief and
Project Hope, with millions of dollars in donated medical supplies, has
arrived in Tbilisi, the capital city of the Republic of Georgia.
The Sept. 14 flight was the 912th conducted by Project Hope and the
U.S. State Department since 1992. The shipment means a healthier life
for more than 90,000 vulnerable patients in the Caucasus region. The
former Soviet republic is a country of great economic need in the
mountains separating Europe and Asia.
The C-17 cargo plane carried 20 representatives of several
international nongovernmental organizations, including the Rev. R. Randy
Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, UMCOR's parent organization, and Marc Maxi, executive
director of field operations for the relief agency.
"UMCOR celebrates its collaborations over the years with Project
Hope," Day said. "We share a common goal - that of promoting
international peace and cooperation as we respond to human need."
Sandra Roelofs, the first lady of Georgia, was among officials on
hand to welcome the plane. She said the flight represented "not only
friendship but development."
An estimated $11 million in drug, health supplies, and hygiene and
school kits were on board. Sept. 15 launched distribution of the
supplies and training in the use of medicines and equipment, to be
managed by the UMCOR Georgia office at Iashvili Children's Central
Hospital in Tbilisi. The hospital is Georgia's major pediatric inpatient
institution, and UMCOR has supplied pharmaceuticals there since 1993.
UMCOR field operations director Marc Maxi greets a patient at the Iashvili Central Children's Hospital.
This is the second medical airlift into Georgia sponsored by UMCOR
and Project Hope. The first was in 2001. Project Hope is an
international relief agency known for its work in health aid and
education. This year's airlift celebrates the organization's 50th
The medicines and other supplies were given by a variety of
organizations, ranging from pharmaceutical companies to private donors.
Interchurch Medical Assistance, another long-time UMCOR partner,
assembled the containers.
UMCOR has a long record of work in Georgia. The agency began
humanitarian operations there in 1993 to address the needs of children
and women by providing essential medicines and treatment practices,
aimed at combating their most common and preventable illnesses.
Today, some 200,000 vulnerable children receive assistance from
UMCOR's Georgia workers. Davit Tkeshelashvili, minister of health,
called the shipment another step toward modernization and reform of
Georgia's health care system. "Our objective is to ensure this cargo
gets to its true address, the beneficiaries as designed," he said.
Striving for stability
Georgia is today an independent Eurasian country of 4.6 million
people. Like other parts of the former Soviet Union, it is striving to
achieve a stable economy. Sustainable health care advances in Georgia
are a priority for both UMCOR and Project Hope.
Both organizations help alleviate human suffering caused by war,
poverty, conflict and natural disasters. UMCOR is active in 81
countries, contributing $91 million in aid and direct relief to
disaster, war and conflict-ridden areas of the world in 2006.
Project Hope's influence is felt across 31 of the world's most
vulnerable countries, especially in the areas of health education and
disease prevention for children and women and support for health
Donations for UMCOR's ongoing work in Georgia can be designated to
UMCOR Advance #250305, Georgia Emergency. Checks may be dropped in
church collection plates or mailed directly to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New
York, NY 10087. Give online at www.givetomission.org, or by credit card by calling (800) 554-8583.
*Beher, who is on UMCOR's communications staff, accompanied the airlift.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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