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Political context of Tbilisi tragedy

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 16
Heavy rain in Tbilisi and flooding caused by the River Vere has resulted in both human and material loss.

The tragedy that claimed 13 lives (with dozen remaining missing) is likely to unite the Georgian political spectrum.

However, some statements have been revealed with a political context. Two versions provoking the regrettable outcomes have been voiced.

One of them is related to a landslide in the mouth of the Vere river ravine which led the accumulation of much water and its unexpected burst in central Tbilisi.

There is also a second view that the incorrect planning of the motorway on Heroes’ Square and the Vere Ravine road were the major reasons of the flooding.

The downpour of rain was especially heavy on June 13-14. However Tbilisi experienced such heavy rainfall in previous years, especially in 2012, but the disaster experienced this year was unprecedented.

According to the state officials the damage stands at amounting 40-50 million GEL or more.

June 15 is announced a mourning day for Georgians.

Through the Prime Minister’s initiative, the deceased peoples’ families will receive 10,000 GEL each as a compensation, while more financial support is planned for those families without accommodation after the catastrophic night.

When it comes to the causes, the above mentioned two reasons have been voiced.

When specialists speak about the landslide in the Vere Ravine they stress that no small ravine could peacefully contain and flow out such huge amount of water. However, weather forecaster Dodo Gvazava states that predicting such a development was possible if the relevant bodies have had a special radar system that gives exact locations of the areas with too much downpour. Heavy rains are forecasted for June 16-17 again.

Environmental Protector Nino Chkhobadze gave a political shading to the case. She stressed that the incorrect planning of the Estacada junction on the Heroes’ square was the reason for the tragedy. She stated that the previous government ignored the geologists and environmentalists in the process of constructing the area, and that threat of the repeated disaster exists if the Estacada is not reconstructed.

One of the leaders of the majority, Zviad Kvachantiradze, shifted blame onto the former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who is currently in prison for money laundering charges.

Kvachantiradze stated that the wrong urban policy under Ugulava transforms each heavy rain in the capital into a possible disaster.

The former ruling party, the United National Movement ( UNM), dismisses the accusations . They claim that the main goal of the government now should be fighting with the problems rather than finding a scapegoat.