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Life under the fear of a landslide

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, May 20
Goginidzeebi is among the several villages in the mountainous Adjara region, which is located in the risk zone. 16 out of 25 families in the village live 1,000 meters away from the landslide zone.

A landslide buried half of the houses in this village on April 6, 2011, but people still live on the remaining part of the land.

Geological reports say the village is uninhabitable. However, according to local population, they have nowhere to go and are asking for help.

“During rains and snow, we leave the place and stay at our relatives, with every rain, the distance between us and a potential landslide gets less and less,” Revaz Gorgadze, resident of the village Goginidzeebi explained.

Zurab Mukharadze, another resident of the village recollected the fatal night of the disaster.

He said it was at around 5 am when they first heard the noise as if a tractor was passing by. “But then when I looked out of the window, I saw that everything was moving including the ground, trees, and even houses,” he said, stressing that the locals had to leave the village, while the area was covered with snow.

“It took us four hours to escape,” another resident of the village, Ketevan Isakadze, said.

Although the landslide did not cause any casualties in 2011, people still live in fear.

Representative of the Association Borjghalo, Davit Bagrationi, is familiar with the problems of local residents. According to him, a plan for resettling some people already exists, but when the relocation will occur is still unknown.

The local municipality promised they would help the population but none of them have received any kind of compensation yet, except for one-time cash assistance.

Because of the risk factor, the population is gradually leaving and now the village faces a demographic problem. “Everyone who can leave, leaves, especially the younger generation and no one can blame them,” Vardo Gogitidze said.

There are only two students at the local elementary school, while according to Mziuri Makharadze the picture was different in the past.