Tearful photos shot 24 years ago – Families fleeing Abkhazia
27 September, 2017
Previously unknown photos, extremely touching and painful, taken exactly 24 years ago, have been published recently. The images depict Georgian refugees fleeing Abkhazia, Georgia’s breakaway region, in the aftermath of the war that lasted 13 months and 13 days. The cruel war ended on September 27, 1993, by falling of Sokhumi, the capital of Abkhazia. Author of these tragic and emotional photos reflecting the pain and sadness of the people forced to leave their hometown is Mike Goldwater, a photographer,
whose pictures have been published in major magazines around the world.

The photos feature the town of Ochamchire, an administrative unit in Abkhazia, on the next day after the war ended and Sokhumi fell. Also in the images can be seen Gali district and displaced people walking Chuberi pass.

24 years have passed since the war in Abkhazia ended by falling of Sokhumi. The military clashes began on August 14, 1992. The National Guards of Georgian Ministry of Defense, who crossed the administrative border to protect the Sochi-Ingiri part of Georgian railways from marauding gangs, were attacked by Abkhazian National Guards set up by then Secretary of Abkhazian Automony’s Supreme Council, Vladislav Ardzinba. Russian and Abkhazian forces occupied the territory along the Enguri river on September 30, 1993 and this is the day when the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia celebrates the day of its independence from Georgia.

More than 10 000 people, militaries as well as peaceful population, died in Abkhazia during the war from Georgian side. 300 000 people fled their homes and settled in different parts of Georgia as well as in Russia and other countries. As for the official data release by the Abkhazian side, 3 500 people died and close to 2 000 were wounded.

The conflict has not been resolved and up to present day Abkhazia remains a breakaway region of Georgia.
Related stories:

23 years have passed since the beginning of the Abkhazian War

Georgia's darkest days - Rare photos of the war in Abkhazia by a British journalist