Floods bring down walls and livelihoods in Georgia

Published: 5 July 2011 17:05 CET

by Manana Kubaneishvili in Georgia

Between 12 and 22 June, 2011, torrential rains in Georgia caused flooding, landslides and mudflows. Some families lost everything, even the very walls of their house.

“Nobody remembers such a big disaster in this region, with so many people affected. Our house has been completely destroyed, and only one wall has been spared,” says Mzia Tuksishvili, 34, from the village of Magaroskari in the agricultural  northeast of the country.  “We hardly survived that night. I do not know how our lives will go on and who will support us. The harvest of the land is our only source of income, and it was almost completely destroyed by the floods: our orchard is full of mud, and all our crops failed in the flooding.”

According to the information from local government and the Emergency Management Department of the Interior Ministry, seven people lost their lives in the disaster, 3,000 houses were damaged, and thousands of residents have lost water and gas supplies. Meanwhile, there were heavy losses of property, agricultural land, gardens, cattle and poultry. Streets and drainage ditches were blocked by flooding and landslides, and several villages remain isolated.

The Red Cross Society of Georgia has conducted a preliminary assessment in the affected regions, in line with its auxiliary role to the Government of Georgia during crises and disasters. The Red Cross mobile response team, consisting of volunteers and staff from local branches and the headquarters, has visited the regions of Chartali and Tusheti and met with the affected population and local officials. More in-depth assessment has been carried out in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, among the most affected by the natural disaster.

“Year after year, Georgia keeps facing natural disasters which result in the loss of human lives and in the disruption of livelihoods,” says Kakha Mamuladze, DM coordinator in the Red Cross Society of Georgia. “And this year our country has not been spared. The Red Cross is trying not only to support the affected people, but also to inform and keep other stakeholders up to date on the development of the situation and emerging needs.”

Volunteers from the Red Cross have joined the local population in the region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti to help them clean the main roads and support the most vulnerable people, and, in support of the National Society’s efforts, CHF 59,960 has been allocated from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). It will help assist some 1,750 beneficiaries over the next three months, focusing on villages in Shida Kartli region and Dusheti Municipality.

After the disaster, Mzia Tuksishvili sent her family members – her husband two children – to the capital Tbilisi, where some friends supported them with a temporary flat, while she decided to stay in the village.

“I am sure rehabilitation of the damaged houses and affected territories from the disaster will soon begin. When it happens, I want to be a member of the team,” she says. “I thank the Red Cross for being with us in this hard time.”