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Seven villages damaged by severe hail in Kakheti region

By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, April 12
Seven villages in Kakheti were affected by heavy hail on April 10th. Hail destroyed agricultural land, vineyards and peach gardens. Several houses were flooded as well. Heavy rain and wind lasted approximately 10-15 minutes.

In Telavi the regional government has created a special commission for assessing the damage. Representatives from the Regional Development and Infrastructure Ministry are also involved in the process.

Village resident Merab Iobashvili said that around 60% of agricultural land in his municipality was damaged. Iobashvili could not remember a similar storm in April in the last 60 years.

“I have lost my source of income, my life's work has been destroyed." Karajala resident Enver Mamedov said.

Kakheti governor Zurab Chiaberashvili met with residents affected by the storm at Nasamkhlari on April 11th. According to Chiaberashvili, the central government and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili should give special attention to this issue. He added that his department will be actively involved in the process of assessing damage, and will cooperate with the central government in this matter.

Along with the Chiaberashvili’s visit around the Kakheti region a session was held in the Telavi region. The Mayor of Telavi Zura Kurashvili said that previously after any natural disaster damages were assessed but no compensation was given. "It's up to the government to decide how to compensate residents for their losses." Kurashvili said.

Magda Popiashvili, spokesman for the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure told The Messenger that the representatives from the Infrastructure Ministry are visiting the affected region, although she added that it is the local government's responsibility to compensate residents, rather than the central government. After determining the amount of damage it is possible money from the government's reserve fund will be used to compensate residents.

The epicenter of the storm was the village of Ruispiri, in the Telavi region. According to local Mayor Temur Gigauri, a specially created committee has already started to assess damages. "We are surveying lands and houses to see how many of them are damaged, then we will transfer the data to the regional government and eventually the residents will receive compensation." Gigauri said.

Zurab Kurashvili said that the damage assessments will be finalized within a week.