Lali Bablidze has been living in the former building of Metallurgist together with her family for over 20 years. She led us to the basement of the unique tuff construction: the water covers the staircase to the basement – sewerage system does not work in the former building of the sanatorium; water leaks from the roof as well. The Inhabitants of the Metallurgist said that when it rains outside, it rains in their rooms as well.
The residents of the sanatorium have neither firewood nor electricity supply. Lali Bablidze: “They added 23 lari to our old allowance of 22 lari but get that 23 lari back through electricity bills. Our electricity supply was cut off because of unpaid bills. Representatives of the electricity distribution company told us our debt have amounted to 10 000 lari. We do not know where we should seek for justice. We petitioned to the Ministry of IDPs but they have not responded yet. We think they do it for vouchers. It is not only our problem. They installed electricity counters later and made 7-8 sanatoriums pay 800-900 lari. Why do they give us these vouchers if they get the money back? I have not received a voucher but if they make me pay the whole money in electricity, how can I live in the winter? I need 90 lari for bread and 16 lari for oil per month not to mention other products.”
Murad Ablotia is head of the department for IDP issues at the Ministry of IDPs, Accommodation and Refugees. He said that the residents of the sanatorium Metallurgist refused to install electricity meters in their building when it was done. “The electricity meters were installed from the end of 2013 to July of 2014. The inhabitants of the sanatorium then refused to participate in the program. However, now the problem is already resolved. The deputy Minister met the IDPs and they got involved in the program.”
Chito Managadze lives in the former building of the sanatorium Friendship. He said that they have the same problems as in Metallurgist. The only difference is that the building they live in now was already amortized in 1990s. “They did not allow us to settle in the building in 1993, saying it was in poor conditions. Nevertheless, we settled and have lived here since then. We renovated the rooms with our own resources. Meanwhile, new flats were constructed for IDPs. We were also promised to get new flats but in vain. They offered us to move to Batumi and Poti but we refused. Each family has at least 2 or 3 dead relatives buried here and we cannot leave their graves for the second time [first time in Abkhazia]. Besides that, we have acquaintances in the local market, and sometimes, when we do not have money, they give products to us and later we pay our debt to them.”
Tamuna Mamardashvili also lives in the sanatorium Friendship. She said living in the amortized building is particularly difficult with a little child. “My son has just started walking and I am afraid he will fall somewhere. Even a slight earthquake can destroy the building. Iveria and Shakhtiori were perfect sanatoriums; they even had individual toilets and bathrooms in their flats. But the government constructed new flats for the residents of those buildings while we have lived 22 years in such difficult conditions; nobody plans to resettle us from here.”
Murad Ablotia said the Ministry actively works on the accommodation of the inhabitants of the sanatoriums Metallurgist and Friendship. He said that they have selected the lands, which will be assigned to the Ministry soon and new residential buildings will be constructed there. The IDPs that do not want to move to other regions or towns, will be settled in the new buildings. “The Ministry has developed several accommodation programs. We offered IDPs residing in the Metallurgist and Friendship to move to the newly rehabilitated buildings in Imereti region. We also have a program, in the frame of which we purchase houses in the villages. We offered IDPs to choose houses under that program. Some of them accepted our offer and now live in new houses. As for the other part of IDPs, which does not want to change their place of residence, we will construct new residential buildings for them in the neighborhood.”