Disaster that changed the life of Tbilisi - 2 years from June 13 flood
13 June, 2017
Disaster that changed the life of Tbilisi - 2 years from June 13 flood
21 people dead and 2 still missing, dozens of animals drowned or killed by police as they roamed the city streets and more than 200 families’ properties damaged beyond repair: these are the results of hellish flooding that happened in Georgian capital on the night of June 13, 2015. Today marks 2 years since one of the greatest natural disasters in Tbilisi residents’ living memory.

84 houses were completely destroyed or swept away and 158 were heavily damaged. Bridges, tunnels and communication systems were also damaged; Mziuri Park and the city’s only Zoo were flooded and a big part of the city’s infrastructure was practically annihilated.

In these difficult hours, our fellow citizens showed an incredible determination as more than 10 000 people took to the streets to participate in cleaning efforts. They were mostly young people, students.
Volunteers participating in the cleaning efforts: apart from ordinary citizens, celebrities, military, sportsmen among them (rugby player Giorgi Lominadze depicted on the photo). Photo by: Gogita Bukhaidze

What was the financial damage to the city budget?

The results of the June 13 disaster turned out to be quite severe in terms of the number of victims, as well as for the infrastructure as the reconstruction works are still underway.

"The main part of works has already been completed. I am talking about the rehabilitation of the highway in Vere Gorge, as well as reinforcement of walls on the new bridges, etc. Close to 40 million laris were already spent from the City Hall's budget", - Gia Kublashvili, the head of the City Hall’s Department of Municipal Improvements says.

As for the works planned in the future, The Municipal Development Fund of Georgia is going to make a project on widening the Vere river bed. The tender has already been announced and the project implies setting up a kilometer-long protective wall along the river.

"In addition, the Municipal Development Fund has already begun construction of more fences which will ensure the safety of residents living in Vere district as well as rehabilitation works of Tskneti-Betania and Tskneti-Akhaldaba roads that will be completed in the following summer. Besides, the special system has been installed in the disaster zone, which will report on the landslide in advance", - Kublashvili adds.

What happened to the residents who were left homeless?

Initially, 480 of them were allocated in hotels and initial assistance was provided. Later, those whose residences were
beyond repair, were given relevant financial compensation. Namely, the Property Management Agency reported that 61 families who were in this situation were paid 31 million 784 thousand laris by the City Hall.

Among the victims were families whose homes were completely destroyed, but they did not have ownership of the houses. Even so, the City Hall has allocated 30,000 to 75,000 laris for the purchase of new apartments. In addition, the City Hall says, the houses, which are subject to rehabilitation, are being restored, so that the owners can move in and live again.

Is there any possibility that this kind of disaster will strike again?

A few days ago, heavy rains fell in eastern Georgia, including Tbilisi, causing some problems like small landslides, which left one person killed and the residents alarmed that something like the 2015 disaster may happen again. Lasha Sukhishvili, a geologist, explains that the mentioned landslide was a small part, a remainder of the one that happened two years ago.
Flood-affected area a year after the disaster. Photo by Irakli Gedenidze

"Close to 30% of land mass that collapsed in Tskneti-Betania road two years ago was still remaining on the slope. The problem is that it was not recommended to remove it, because another mass of land would be activated’, - Sukhishvili says

Lasha Sukhishvili explains that this time Tbilisi would be better prepared for the disaster in any way, but the flooding was not expected.

It is noteworthy that almost a year after the disaster of 13-14 June 2015, the Memorial to the deceased was opened on the road connecting Heroes Square and Tamarashvili Street, to remember the tragedy that happened in 2015.

Related Stories:

Tbilisi Flood and the Man Who Saw It Coming

A year since Tbilisi Flood: What has been done and risks that remain

Exclusive aerial footage of Tbilisi after disaster

Heroic volunteers unite to help citizens affected by the flood that struck Tbilisi (+ photos)
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