Stormy Georgia: Regions Suffering Heavily at the Hand of Nature

Georgia is a frequent victim of natural disasters, it seems. In the last week alone both the western and eastern regions of the country were affected by heavy rain falls, floods, hail and lightening.

In Western Georgia, around 300 calls were made to the Batumi emergency call center 112 on the night of August 26, as several streets flooded as a result of heavy rain in Georgia’s Adjara Region. Severe rainfall flooded ground floors of numerous houses in the city; and a further 10 houses were damaged by water in the nearby village of Feria.

The same day the electricity supply was suspended for several hours after lightning hit one of the power stations in Poti, in Georgia’s Samegrelo Region. Heavy rain flooded central streets in the city and floodwater damaged the ground floors of a number of houses, destroying household appliances.

Over in Eastern Georgia, heavy rain and hailstorms damaged farmland and houses in some parts of the eastern region of Kakheti on August 21. Kvareli and some of its nearby villages, including Sanavardo, were among the most heavily affected areas. Hail damaged crops, roofs and cars. 1,500-2,000 hectares of vineyard were damaged according to preliminary estimates.

Basements of houses in some of the villages of Lagodekhi municipality were flooded and a landslide in Akhameta municipality damaged a road the same day. Tourists stranded in Tusheti as a result of the landslide were air-lifted out of the area by helicopter on 23rd of August. An additional 620 people were evacuated from the zone when several road sections were damaged due to heavy rainfall and hail.

As a response to the continued hail, early this year 83 points where selected by the Georgian authorities in which officials installed a revolutionary anti-hail system. These points covered the eight municipalities in Kakheti. However, an anti-hail system is effective when clouds are still forming, and, facing a fully developed storm, they cannot fully prevent the hail. This week was another example of their inefficiency.

The natural disasters in the Georgian regions come after the major flood on June 13th which hit Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, killing 20 people and leaving up to 40 families without shelter, as well as destroying several enclosures at Tbilisi Zoo. Prior to that flood, on June 7, Kakheti and Shida Kartli regions were also affected by severe rain and hail which brought serious damage to vast amounts of agricultural land, destroying a number of streets and house roofs.

Nino Japarashvili

27 August 2015 21:46