Government meets in Racha to view earthquake damage
By Londa Mindiashvili
Friday, September 11The Government of Georgia held a session in Racha on September 10. The main issue it sought to address was the situation in that region after the September 8 earthquake which damaged many houses around Oni. Apart from this the decision was taken at the session concerning financing the Georgian Basketball Federation. On Prime Minister Nika Gilauri’s recommendation the Government allocated an extra 10,000 GEL to the Federation.
Before the session began the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet met locals and looked at the damaged houses. According to the latest figures more than 20,000 houses were damaged by the earthquake and 418 can no longer be lived in. A special commission is calculating the losses and their final estimate will be ready in 10 days, as Nika Gilauri announced at the session. The Government will be able to allocate the necessary sums and plan special programmes for rehabilitating the region only after receiving the conclusions of the commission.
The main problem the locals raised with the Ministers was not having enough tents. The Government members promised that an extra 300 tents would be sent to Racha and said that their main aim was to provide the locals with dwellings until winter. “We promised the locals that we would resolve their problems in a short period of time and we will do so. I also promised them that this year’s vintage will be successful for every vine grower who has worked hard in their vineyard,” stated the Agriculture Minister Bakur Kvezereli. The Prime Minister spoke about projects planned in Racha-Lechkumi and announced that about 7 million GEL will be allocated for implementing these.
Some events were held in Ambrolauri before the Government meeting. Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili opened a new police station in Ambrolauri, witnessed by Prime Minister Gilauri and other members of the Government. Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Dimitry Shashkin also opened the new Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Probation Bureau in Ambrolauri and Minister of Education Nika Gvaramia opened a new school there.
The Government held its session in Racha on the instruction of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who told it to meet there during his meeting with Georgia’s Ambassadors in Tbilisi in order to take decisions about how to resolve the problems wrought by the earthquake. The President said that the earthquake had damaged the national economy and ruined hundreds of houses in Racha and Imereti, and the Government should show solidarity with the affected citizens. He said that the Government always remembers the local inhabitants and thinks about how to develop the region. Saakashvili also highlighted the role of the Ambassadors in bringing investments into the country and particularly Racha.