Georgian capital flood: 12 killed, zoo animals escape, several shot dead

BY: Reuters
A hippopotamus walks across a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2015 (Reuters / Beso Gulashvili)

The city of Tbilisi has suffered an incessant and torrential downpour that resulted in flooding of the low-land areas of the Georgian capital at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. The death toll has been climbing, with numerous buildings deluged.

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The death toll so far stands at 12, while 24 people are missing, TASS reports. Bodies were found mostly in flooded private households. There have been reports of landslides in Tbilisi’s suburbs.

The Georgian PM announced June 15 to be a day of mourning for the Tbilisi flood victims.
The water has filled hundreds of basements, underground walkways, squares and roads, and damaged electrical and technical infrastructure. The House of Justice has suffered the most among the federal buildings. Some 22,000 Tbilisi citizens remain without electricity.

Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili announced that an emergency headquarters for damage control and recovery had been set up.
All rescue teams available have been deployed to Tbilisi to bring the situation under control.


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Prague Zoo along with other Czech zoos is set to send a team of at least five specialists to Tbilisi on Monday.

Rescuers work among debris at a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2015 (Reuters / Irakli Gedenidze)

“After consultation with Tbilisi Zoo’s management we will send a team of skilled keepers, who have experienced floods in Prague. Keepers are going there to help with the current situation in Tbilisi,” Miroslav Bobek, director of Prague Zoo, told RT. “As a president of UCSZOO (Union of Czech and Slovak Zoological Gardens) I have already initiated a public collection to financially support Tbilisi Zoo and its recovery.”

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A man gestures to a hippopotamus at a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2015 (Reuters / Beso Gulashvili)
"The situation is rather difficult. We haven't seen anything like this in the capital before," Garibashvili said. The Georgian PM reported that rescuers and police are doing their job well and have already saved dozens of people. "All problems will be solved," Garibashvili promised.

The Kura River that passes through the city broke its banks and flooded Tbilisi’s Zoo, causing over 30 wild animals to flee, among them a hippo, 7 bears, six lions, six tigers, jaguars, 13 wolves and others.