Accessibility links

Breaking News

'No One Seems To Be In The Mood For Entertainment'

U.S. humanitarian supplies arrive by warship in Batumi. Will similar shipments ever make it to Poti?
3:15 p.m. local time (1115 GMT)

So far, no humanitarian aid has come from Batumi. They say the aid from the United States might still arrive. During the last days, there have been several cases of ships coming toward Poti, and then, at the last minute, changing their course and going to Batumi.

Port Authority spokesman Gocha Lemonjava says he is unable to indicate whether ships will come in to Poti or not. This, he says, is a political decision.

A short while ago, I was out talking to Poti residents. One woman, 53-year-old Lali Danelia, told me she still falls into panic at the sound of thunder, thinking it's Russian warplanes. Even though kindergartens around Poti will shortly reopen, Danelia says her family does not intend to send their children there – not until the last Russian soldier has left Poti.

Another resident, 21-year-old Nini Lataria, said all her friends are still afraid to come back to Poti. She remembered the morning after the bombardments, saying she frantically collected all her savings and belongings, not knowing what to expect.

Tamar Jamburia, an owner of a small grocery shop, complains of plummeting sales. She says Poti residents bought things in large quantities to put in storage, and now her sales are suffering as a result. Suppliers are also reluctant to bring goods into Poti shops, she said.

As I was walking today, I passed by Poti's main park and saw that the carousel in the park was not working. Someone told me they switch it on during the evenings, but almost no one seems to be in the mood for entertainment.

Everyone keeps talking about the Russian forces and the checkpoints that are set up on the outskirts of our town. People are very worried.