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One year passes since deadly Tbilisi flood

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, June 14
One year has passed since a massive natural disaster in Tbilisi, when due to heavy rain and landslide, a devastating flood of the river Vere hit the capital on June 13 2015, claiming the lives of 21 people and leaving hundreds homeless. Two people are still missing.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili remembered the disasterous day, saying the only relief was the unity of people, who helped each other overcome hardship.

"The solidarity of our younger generation during that horrible time was really historic and we should express gratitude to every person who took part in liquidation works of the disaster,” he stated at the governmental sitting on June 13.

According to Kvirikashvili, a lot of work has been done since the flood and most of the families who lost their homes have already been compensated.

He noted that more than 40 million GEL was spent on infrastructural restorations works. The PM also thanked the foreign countries who financially supported Georgia after the deadly flood.

At the meeting, Kvirikashvili voiced an initiative of the Interior Ministry, according to which if a rescue officer or a firefighter dies while on duty, their families will receive compensation of 100,000 GEL immediately and 1000 GEL monthly, like in case of police officers.

“This time last year, a rescue officer, Zurab Muzashvili, died while saving 8 people but could not save himself,” underlined the PM.

Moreover, at the initiative of Georgia’s Interior Ministry, one of the streets in the Saburtalo district will be named after Zurab Muzashvili.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili also issued a statement regarding the flood. He paid tribute to the deceased citizens and underlined that the unity of Georgians at that time was crucial.

“Such heroic precedents are the basis of our optimism and we should do our best to ensure the safety of each citizen,” the President’s statement reads.

The flood hit Tbilisi in the evening of June 13 and continued through the night. The landslide at the village Akhaldaba accelerated the flood in the Vere Ravine; tunnels failed to pass the water and the river damaged the Vake-Saburtalo connecting road, as well as the Heroes’ Square, Tbilisi-Tskneti highway and nearly 20 streets, destroying much of the infrastructure in the disaster areas. Mziuri Park and Tbilisi Zoo were fully submerged and the majority of the animals were killed during the disaster.

Despite the deadly flood, Tbilisi Zoo is now fully rehabilitated. During the last year, many countries gifted animals to the Zoo and on June 13 it welcomed 45 new residents. The entrance to Tbilisi Zoo was free on June 13 and several charity events were also held to commemorate the tragic day.