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Saakashvili vows to assist flood-damaged regions

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, June 21
On Monday President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili discussed the situation of the country's rain-affected regions and gave further instructions to the Ministers. The President welcomed active cooperation among the Ministries and encouraged them to assist individual families which have lost all their savings. “The tourist season is about to start in Georgia while the weather has worsened all around the world. People affected by the flooding used to rent out their apartments or receive lodgers - that’s why they need our special support,” Saakashvili told the Ministers encouraging them to make a stable plan against the effects of extreme weather which may become frequent in Georgia.

According to the information provided by PM Nika Gilauri the entire cost of the damage has exceeded GEL 10 million. Planning to introduce the issue to other Ministers at the Governmental Session, Gilauri said they would do their best to restore micro management and assist people in trouble. Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Ramaz Nikolaishvili shared “the technical decision” the Ministers have made to combat heavy weather.

Amazed with the amount of water coming from the mountain, Nikolaishvili stressed that the working groups have managed to save the rest of Rikoti pass from destruction. “There was a danger that the water could have split the western and eastern parts of the country but the specialists put pipes in the ground to make the water join the river Suramula,” the Minister said hoping that all the cleaning work would be completed in a fortnight. Traffic movement according to Nikolaishvili would be restored in a couple of days, while transportation is now possible through alternative roads.

1100 people and 360 machines are working on restoring the damage. The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment Protection with Georgian Roads Department, Tbilisi City Hall and other private companies will continue clearing the roads after the landslides, pumping the ground floors and cellars of the local people and restoring bridges. “We are making face-to-face interviews with the people affected by the extreme weather during the last few days to fully calculate their damage. Uniting our resources with other regions we are fully mobilized against the problems,” Shida Kartli Governor Zurab Arsoshvili told the President.

Geologists investigating the sites were amazed by the amount of soil and rock that had been swept away, saying such a thing can only be repeated once a century. PM Gilauri personally controlled the situation at Rikoti with the new Minister of Finance. As Dimitri Gvindadze stated, money from the reserve fund would be enough for normalizing the situation.

Cleaning activities also continue at Khashuri and Surami while the dwellers of Chumateleti village still face some danger as the river is still flowing in the yards of the houses. The power supply has already been restored at these settlements, but those districts where the power generators were swept away by the flood still remain disconnected. Brigades were also sent to the area from Borjomi and Kharagauli. The firefighters were pumping water from the basements and ground floors of the houses flooded by the disaster. People in Tskhvedieti village (in Pasanauri) as well as the locals of Magaroskari (in Dusheti) have been blocked from the rest of civilization; rehabilitation activities have been hindered in Khobi (in Samegrelo) due to non-stop rain. Landslides also affected Gudauri-Kobi military road while the cleaning activities at the Tbilisi-Tianeti road sector have almost finished.

As the Chairman of Parliament Davit Bakradze said at the Bureau Sitting, there is no real danger of further disaster in Georgia while the Government would try hard to avoid further complications and do their best to normalize the situation all around the country.