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Georgia mourns flood tragedy

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 16
Georgia is in mourning for the events of 12-13 June as twelve lives were claimed by the flooding in Tbilisi and its adjacent areas. June 15 has been declared as the day of mourning.

According to the latest information, the number of the lost has been reduced from 24 to 13 as several of the individuals managed to return to their homes.

The state officials attended a service in the Trinity Cathedral for the souls of those deceased in the disaster.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili stated that Georgia showed excellent unity in the days of sorrow and the country will overcome the material loss experienced in these days, the cost of which stands at more than 40 million GEL.

He offered his condolences to the families of those died in the flooding.

The PM also appealed to people to refrain from driving in the city as cars may hinder the cleaning and restoration activities in Tbilisi.

The President stressed that such disasters do not happen in developed cities. He stated that the tragedy was caused by the lack of professionals.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that all the activities should be performed through the involvement of professionals of certain fields that is the best way for gaining quality outcomes.

The President said that he is waiting for the reports of the professionals made with regards to the tragedy rather than political assessments of the issue.

Through the President’s decree, the National Guard of the Georgian armed forces is engaged in the recovery operations.

Thousands of Georgians and foreign citizens as well are volunteering for the cleaning activities in the capital. According to the city administration, more people revealed their desire to volunteer than were needed.

Several animals which escaped from the Tbilisi zoo, which was fully devastated in the flooding, are still missing. A greater number of animals were drowned in the rough water, and some were killed as they created danger to residents according to relevant bodies, and some were tranquillised.

Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is the founder of the non-governmental organization “Citizen”, expressed sorrow over the tragedy caused by the disaster in Tbilisi and stated that his organization will assist the government to overcome the troubles and will also help them to build a new zoo.

Several countries and organizations have already revealed their support to Georgia.

The EU said it is in contact with the Georgian authorities and is ready to deploy assistance to help the country following a deadly flood in parts of central Tbilisi.

“The European Union stands in full solidarity with Georgia in this hour of need,” a spokesperson for the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement on Sunday. “Our thoughts are with the victims and those who are affected by the deadly floods in Tbilisi caused by the heavy rainfalls that hit the country over the past two days.”

James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of flooding that hit several central parts of Tbilisi overnight on Sunday.

“Terrible day in Tbilisi as a result of the flooding. Deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives. Our thoughts are with the many thousands affected,” Appathurai has posted on his official Facebook page.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter to his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili offering condolences over the recent tragedy in Tbilisi.

The same has been done by the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

It has also been reported that the Prime Minister of Armenia instructed Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations Armen Yeritsyan to keep on working with his Georgian counterpart in order to provide the necessary assistance to the Georgian side.

Israel says it will send specialists from Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo (with special equipments) for the safe evacuation of escaped animals. In the long term, it offers cooperation to restore the Tbilisi Zoo.