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IDP cottages aren't good enough, says TIG

By Ernest Petrosyan
Wednesday, April 28
Transparency International Georgia (TIG) has issued a new report which criticises the quality of construction of the cottages built for IDPs displaced in August 2008. Its monitoring has revealed that construction problems which continue to negatively affect the lives of IDP’s have been caused not by the speed of the construction but unsatisfactory initial design, drawn up without consultation and the participation of experts.

“Transparency International hired several engineers to conduct quality monitoring of the IDP cottages. The main problem revealed is humidity in the houses, partially caused by their quick construction with materials which had not dried. Second, mistakes were made in the initial design. We understand that in the force majeur circumstances it was urgent to build the cottages for IDPs, nevertheless, more examination of the location and better selection of construction materials were required. Several problems can still be resolved, but not all. There is attempt being made by donors and the Government to examine every single house and resolve all these problems. At this stage drainage systems should be constructed and walls also should be widened in order to take humidity out of the houses”, stated Keti Khutsishvili, the Executive Director of Open Society Georgia Foundation.

“Some other aspects of the planning process did attempt to address the long term needs of IDPs, such as identifying land plots for them as many of the IDPs came from subsistence agriculture backgrounds. But the design of the cottages was done so quickly and with so little planning that the result is something in between an emergency shelter and a durable building,” said Vakhtang Kobaladze, TI Georgia’s Executive Director.

“Quality always depends on cost. The quality of the cottages is acceptable in relation to their cost. In any type of management lower cost and higher quality are always priorities, and such claims will always be made”, stated Valeri Kopaleishvili, Head of the Administrative Department of the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement. The cost of each cottage was around 28,000 GEL and the project as a whole cost 110.5 million GEL.

The monitoring was done by the Open Society-Georgia Foundation and Transparency International Georgia, which are part of the Coalition of NGOs. This coalition of seven organisations was established after the August War.