Friday, 19 June 2015

Tbilisi flood recovery: Two bodies found in past 24 hours

Authorities have discovered the bodies of two more flood victims.

This news comes five days after the natural disaster, bringing the total death toll to 21. As of this afternoon, three people remain missing and six others are receiving treatment in local hospitals.

After rescue workers assessed the situation today, they discovered more local families had suffered in the flood.

This evening officials confirmed 457 people from 106 families, including 119 children, 56 elderly and five pregnant women, were affected by the June 13 flood.

An unidentified body was recovered yesterday while the body found today at Tbilisi Zoo has been identified as Liza Zarandia. Liza, 25, was a sister of 22-year-old Indira Zarandia, the youngest victim of the flood whose body was found on June 15 at Mziuri Park.

Indira and Liza Zarandia were in a taxi together with their friend Sergo Kapanadze when the flood hit Tbilisi. Kapanadze remains missing.

The two recovered victims were earlier named on the missing list, while another person deemed missing has returned home safely.

All day today special teams have cleaned Tbilisi Zoo, Mziuri Park and Svanidze St territory to remove the debris and find the remaining three missing victims.

Epidemic threat

Due to possible risks of epidemic threats or predator attacks, volunteers who have been actively working at disaster zones in recent days were forbidden to get involved in the clean-up works without wearing protective clothing and using special equipment.

"The volunteers will continue working in the suburbs. The Health Ministry will take appropriate measures in the ‘at risk’ areas. There are special rules and conditions that need to be taken into account by all,” Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania said.

The Patrol Police closed off the natural disaster zones to traffic so volunteers could freely access the site.

After visiting the Vake Meat Products factory today Georgia’s Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said: "there are no epidemic treats in Tbilisi”. The factory is completely destroyed. Today the factory was cleaned of its spoiled meat products, which could potentially illness.

Meanwhile the Health Ministry is providing tetanus shots for people who are injured during the cleaning works. People can visit the Centre of Immunization and Prevention to receive this vaccine. Tbilisi Zoo director Zurab Gurielidze was one of several citizens who have received this medication.

Furthermore, Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II has blessed the volunteers working at Mziuri Park. The Patriarch visited the affected area with clergymen to familiarise himself with the volunteer efforts.

Monitoring the tunnels

The Patrol Police and Crisis and Emergency Management Council representatives are continuing to work on recovery operations.

Today Crisis and Emergency Management Council envoys and geologists monitored the tunnels that were full of water and mud after the severe flood in Tbilisi. Using boats they managed to creep into the clefts that appeared between the old and new river tunnels.

Council director Zviad Kanashvili said the tunnels were checked as part of the search for the missing victims as well as to check the integrity of the tunnels.

Geologist Zurab Tsintsadze said the tunnels were in "normal” condition. "The only problem is the adhesion point of the tunnels which will be fixed,” Tsintsadze said.

US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland promised American forest experts, geologists and seismologists will visit Georgia to help their counterparts.

Be careful: Tiger and hyena still missing

A handful of wild animals that escaped from the Zoo during the flood in Tbilisi are still walking freely in the city’s streets. The whereabouts of one tiger and a striped hyena remain unknown. The Zoo director called on the Tbilisi public to be careful.

Gurielidze did not rule out that the lost predators were dead, but said enclosures in the Zoo were still filled with mud, making it impossible to enter and check if the missing predators’ bodies were there.

He said once the enclosures were cleaned then Zoo staff would know what the true situation is.

Friday 19 June 2015


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