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Tbilisi Flooding Causes Casualties
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 14 Jun.'15 / 13:42


Hippopotamus on flooded Hero’s Square close to the Tbilisi zoo. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

At least 12 people died and several are missing as a result of flooding in Tbilisi overnight on Sunday, officials say.

Heavy rainfall, which started before midnight, turned normally small stream, Vere, which runs in the Tbilisi center across Vake and Saburtalo districts, into a raging river.


Flooded backyard of a residential apartment building on Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

A large and fast-moving stream of Vere flooded significant portions of a 4-km highway, linking Vake-Saburtalo road to Hero’s Square; it swept cars, at least one small house and flooded many others.


Vere river runs over the significant portion of highway linking Tamarashvili street (Vake-Saburtalo road) to Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

The river also flooded Tbilisi zoo. Animals, among them tigers, lions, bears and wolves escaped from the flooded zoo. Some of them were either captured or killed, but search of remaining escaped animals was still ongoing early on Sunday morning.

At least two employees of the zoo are among the fatalities.


Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

Svanidze Street in Vake, which is crossed by Vere river, is among the worst hit areas, where at least three people died and about two dozen of families were left without houses.


Vere river runs over the significant portion of highway linking Tamarashvili street (Vake-Saburtalo road) to Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge


Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge


Water runs down underground walkway on Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge


Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge


Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge


Hero’s Square. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

Parts of the right embankment of Riva Mtkvari has also been flooded.

“The damage is substantial,” said PM Irakli Garibashvili. He also called on the people to stay home as search of animals, which escaped from the flooded zoo, was still ongoing.

Mindia Janelidze, secretary of the state security and crisis management council, called on the people to refrain from driving on Sunday as several central thoroughfares will be closed down.

Heavy rain also caused a landslide on the Tskneti-Betania road outside Tbilisi.

Border police helicopter was used to evacuate 16 people from Akhaldaba, close to Tskneti, outside Tbilisi, where heavy rain damaged roads.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili said he would allocate funds from president’s discretionary fund to assist families suffered from the flood.

Five people were killed in a flooding in another part of Tbilisi three years ago.

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