BRUSSELS, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The European Commission says it has released $1.5 million in "fast-track" humanitarian aid for civilians affected by fighting in South Ossetia and Georgia.
The commission's humanitarian aid department said Monday it has experts in the region assessing the needs of refugees who have fled their homes in South Ossetia amid the fighting among local separatists, Georgian government forces and the Russian military.
"The European Commission is extremely concerned about the fighting and deplores the loss of lives and the human suffering it causes," said Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid." We call for an immediate end of hostilities."
Michel said thousands of civilians, women and children have been caught up in the fighting in and around South Ossetia, adding that the commission's fast-track $1.5 million funding "is a very first contribution to meet their basic humanitarian needs." The funds will cover emergency medical assistance, water and sanitation, food, and non-foods items like blankets, clothes, kitchen-sets, emergency shelter and protection, he said.