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Seven Missing, Nine Injured after Landslide on Georgia-Armenia Road

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, October 4
A sudden landslide on the Georgian-Armenian interstate highway dragged around 35 cars and trucks off the road on Sunday night. According to the information released by the Armenian media, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan suggested the creation of an operative headquarters on the site while the staff of the Ministry of Emergency Situations was immediately sent to the scene. “Measures are being taken to assist all the affected passengers,” the Armenian government stated.

Nine people were injured in the natural disaster, while seven people, including four Georgian citizens are still missing. As Tengiz Sharmanashvili, the Georgian Ambassador to Armenia told the media, the landslide swept part of Georgian citizens’ cars away into a ravine. “They all managed to leave their cars, but their documents remained in the cars. At present, rescuers are trying to get the documents out of the ravine, along with the fragments of the cars,” he stated.

Armenian emergency brigades have been working at the area of disaster to clean up the road and help the injured passengers. The Georgian Embassy to Armenia actively communicated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA). As the Deputy Minister of the MFA Davit Jalaghania said at his weekly Monday briefing, the Georgian side expressed full readiness to assist their colleagues in carrying out the rescue operation on the highway. “We hope that the landslide had no victims, except from the several damaged vehicles,” Jalaghania said at the briefing.

The Vanadzor-Bagratashen section of the highway, where the landslide exactly occurred, was closed due to falling rocks at the site on Monday. There might have been several preconditions to the natural disaster like bad weather or a recent earthquake but the exact reason has not yet been investigated. Some Georgian citizens were driving to the capital of Armenia, Yerevan when suddenly the main highway was covered by the landslide.

The passengers who managed to escape the disaster used alternative roads to get to their destinations. Sharing their astonishment at the natural disaster they recounted how the cars fell under the weight of the landslide. People who had been found by the rescuers were delivered to hospitals, while rescuers continued searching for others. The Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations published a list of people lost during the road accident including the names of the four Georgian citizens hoping that they would all be found alive.