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Three Years on from June 13 Deadly Flood in Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 14
Three years have passed from the deadly flood in Tbilisi on June 13, 2015 which claimed 21 lives and inflicted millions of damage on the city infrastructure.

Two victims of the flood have not been found so far.

The Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said in a special statement that June 13 was the day of tragedy and trouble.

“I once again send my condolences to the families of the deceased people. Our rescuers’ devoutness saved many lives on the day. We will always remember Zurab Muzashvili who saved eight people and died heroically,” Kvirikashvili said.

The Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili initiated to declare June 12 as the Day of Solidarity as together thousands of Georgians came out in streets to help the affected people and clean the city.

Margvelashvili also said that the government of Georgia must make people’s safety a priority before they approve any infrastructural project.

More than 1,000 people from up to 200 families lost their homes or businesses in the disaster. According to Tbilisi City Hall figures, 84 houses were destroyed and 158 others were seriously damaged.

Tbilisi Zoo lost almost half of its animals when the flood waters swamped the animal park.

The disaster damaged homes, businesses and other infrastructure on more than 20 streets in central Tbilisi.

The World Bank evaluation estimated the flood caused more than 100 million GEL worth of damage on Tbilisi infrastructure.

More than 26 million GEL was donated by local and foreign citizens, private companies and foreign countries to the charity funds to assist the flood victims. This also included 10.25 million GEL from the Cartu Foundation - a charity fund established and financed by Georgian tycoon and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Late on 13 June, 2015, following hours of the heavy rainfall, a landslide was released above the village of Akhaldaba, about 20 km southwest of Tbilisi. The landslide, carrying 1 million m3 of land, mud, and trees, moved down into Tbilisi and dammed up the Vere river at two points, first at a 10m wide channel at Tamarashvili Street and then at the channel under the Heroes' Square, a major traffic hub, connected with Tamarashvili Street through the Vere Valley Highway.

The resulting flood inflicted severe damage on the Tbilisi Zoo, Heroes' Square, Mziuri Park, and nearby streets.