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Alllies ready to assist Georgia put out another wildfire in Abastumani

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, August 31
After a raging fire has grown worse in the Abastumani forest in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, Georgia has once again asked its allies for help.

The ambassador of Turkey, Zeki Levent Gumrukcu, stated that Turkey is ready to assist Georgia with two helicopters and one firefighting plane.

“Last week, Turkey was one of the countries that helped Georgia. Now we have heard about the fire on the territory of Abastumani. Therefore, we are now ready to help the Georgian people once again,” the ambassador stated.

Turkish aircraft also participated in firefighting works against the fire in Borjomi Gorge last week.

Ukraine has also sent its own firefighting plane, AN-32P, belonging to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, after Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation regarding the situation in Abastumani.

The Georgian PM stated that Azerbaijan also expressed readiness to assist Georgia with its aviation assets.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia confirms that they have addressed several foreign countries for help in order to timely extinguish the fire in Abastumani. However, the MIA underlined that the Russian Federation is not among these countries.

The ministry also stated that the fire is around 7-8 kilometers away from the populated area and it does not pose a threat to the locals.

The fire in Abastumani forest started on Tuesday. Anti-fire efforts were underway all night long, and from Wednesday the MIA sent additional forces to the forest, as the fire became more violent.

Interior Minister, Giorgi Mghebrishvili, said that about 1,000 firefighters, rescuers and rangers are mobilized on the ground. He said a helicopter of the Georgian Border Police is also actively involved in firefighting activities.

“All relevant state institutions are in full coordination and I hope that we will have good results soon,” the minister noted.

He added that a five kilometer-long new road was cut in the woods for special equipment to reach the point of fire.

Volunteers also engaged in anti-fire efforts together with firefighters.