According to preliminary information, 16 people were affected by the landslide in Shovi, Racha, and they need urgent medical attention. Locals told Georgian News that there are 6 children among the affected.
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Georgian News contacted several people in Shovi who told us the situation is very serious.
According to the locals, a large part of the mountain broke off and swept away cottages and the surrounding area, which were damaged or completely destroyed. The road leading to Shovi was also washed away by the mudslide, which is why the rescuers have not yet been able to reach the site.
16:40 - Georgian News spoke to one of the people affected by the landslide, according to whom, the event unfolded so quickly that people had no time to escape. Rescuers have not yet arrived at the scene. A rescue helicopter also hasn't appeared.
16:45 - According to the information of Mountain Stories, two helicopters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are headed for the disaster zone with rescue teams. They will arrive at the scene in a few minutes.
16:52 - The Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement - the emergency hotline 112 has received multiple reports of the collapse of the land mass as a result of a landslide at the Sunset Shovi hotel located in Shovi. All relevant agencies have been notified about the incident, appropriate equipment has been mobilized to the site, and additional equipment is being supplied.
17:03 – One of the victims provided us with photographs from the incident site.
17:25 - According to the victims, the rescuers have not yet arrived at the scene. It has been 2 hours since the landslide in Shovi affected 16 people.
17:32 - Another victim tells us: We are stuck between the hotel Racha and the so-called Stalin's house. The Sunset Shovi hotel building has also shifted. The landslide covered over a kilometer. Our residential cottage is completely destroyed. No rescuers have arrived so far.
18:31 - The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that the border police helicopter with rescue teams is already in Racha. The victims from the scene of the incident inform us that no one has appeared yet.
19:22 - The head of the Strategic Communications Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Keti Kovziashvili, reports that12 citizens have already been evacuated from the disaster zone, 5 of them are children. 2 border police helicopters are involved in the rescue operation.
19:50 - According to MIA, about 40 people have been evacuated from the disaster zone. Oni mayor says they will be accommodated in hotels.
19:58 - In an interview with the Mtavari Channel, a local resident recalls the account of an eyewitness that one of the cars swept away by the overflowing river still had a driver in it. ‘’One eyewitness said that six cars, including his, were washed away, one of them along with the driver.’’ None of the state agencies are confirming information on the victims, although the mudslide did swipe away several cars.
20:00 - The mudslide damaged power lines; Shovi and the village of Glola are cut off from electricity. Energo Pro Georgia told Georgian News that the electricity supply to Glola will be restored in about an hour.
20:03 - Tea Godoladze, director of the National Seismic Monitoring Center: “The country must be ready for such eventualities, and the risks of natural disasters must be assessed - what should we expect in which regions. Every specialist in the field knows that the region and its tributaries are susceptible to landslides and flooding. In such a case, it is necessary to have a warning system in place and take preliminary measures. Construction and infrastructural development in floodplains and their tributaries should be avoided. A river floodplain is a risk area and can be flooded if not today, then tomorrow. Moreover, we are talking about Racha - geologically and morphologically one of the most difficult regions. In such regions, which are prone to cataclysms, early warning and monitoring systems should be installed, local rescue teams must be present, and helicopters need to be stationed. This is not the first nor last landslide here.”
20:11 - As a result of the rescue operation, about 70 citizens in the disaster zone were transferred to a safe area. Border police helicopters have already made 3 runs. The rescue operation is still ongoing. The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and the head of emergency management Agency are present at the scene.
20:59 - Shovi cataclysm claimed victims.
22:40 - Father of children stranded in the disaster zone – “I have a wife and three small children stuck there. I cannot reach them. They were staying in cottages in Shovi, which, as they are saying, has been washed away by the landslide. I do not know what's happening. They are not telling us anything. I approached rescuers begging them to tell me what was going on. They said they [his family] are there. Whether they located them or not, if they escaped into the forest...- they are not telling us anything. Do something. They cannot make it through the night, there are children - a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 7-year-old. Don't you feel sorry for these children?! Please. We can't lift the helicopters because we don't have searchlights.”
23:50 - Otar Siradze, the former governor of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, says that they have lost contact with 10 more people stranded near Sunset Shovi.
“My friend is Gela Gutashvili, who lives in Glola, owns a business, and has cottages. Gela has two children - a girl and a boy, one has finished school and the other is already a student. At 15:30 these torrents started to slide down in three places. He hasn't been able to locate his children ever since. He also cannot find his wife's sister, who is with her two children, and 5 tourists who were residing in his cottages. That is, he is unable to locate 10 people. He is in a desperate state. Unfortunately, the cottages have been swept away. It took authorities 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach the site by helicopter in what could have been torture for the people who were later found dead. They have now stopped the rescue operation, they cannot continue because of the night. After all, Racha is mountainous and seismically active, there are frequent earthquakes, floods, and conditions for a landslide frequently occur. Given that there were heavy rains in the preceding days, why were the people not warned, evacuated, or preparations being done?!”
August 4, 00:20 - A hotline was established in connection with the disaster. The Ministry of Internal Affairs urges citizens, to call the number - 598 913 089 if they have information about missing persons. The hotline will operate 24 hours a day.
00:34 - According to the head of the Emergency Management Agency, Temur Mghebrishvili, they are unable to contact 50 people at the moment. “About 150 people have been transferred to safe locations, and we do not rule out that people who cannot be reached by family members are among them. We will check the information throughout the night. We urge anyone who cannot reach their relatives to contact us on the hotline and call 112,” said Mghebrishvili on the air of Imedi TV.
01:45 - The surveyors of the National Agency of Public Registry, who were working in the disaster zone in Racha, are safe. According to the agency, 35 surveyors were working on the site and their temporary residence in Shovi was located directly in the disaster zone and has been completely destroyed. “At the time of the incident, each of them was carrying out surveying work in the field away from the landslide zone. Fortunately, all of them are safe,” said the agency, noting that as soon after the disaster began, the surveyors were immediately transported to Tbilisi.
08:00 - Evacuation of citizens from the disaster zone by helicopters has been resumed. Manpower remained on the ground throughout the night, although two helicopters were suspended after dark.
08:11 - The publication Mountain Stories publishes photographs from the epicenter of the disaster zone.
10:00 – Mountain Stories reporter reports from the scene of the disaster that at least two more bodies have been found. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has not yet confirmed this information.
10:03 - The head of the Emergency Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Temur Mghebrishvili, said that after resuming the rescue operation with the helicopters, aadditional 140 people have been evacuated from the disaster zone. In addition, according to the information of Parmen Margvelidze, the state representative of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, yesterday and today, a total of 210 people were evacuated from the disaster zone.
11:00 – Bodies of 4 more people found in Shovi. Death toll now up to six. More than 30 missing.
11:36 - The Glola villagers are dissatisfied with the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the disaster area and demand to be involved in the rescue operation. The police are not allowing the locals to enter the valley, but young people are still searching for the missing. Mountain Stories reports that several cars and bodies have been found.
12:25 – Merab Gaprindashvili, head of the Geology Department of the National Environmental Agency, says that the Shovi resort cataclysm was caused by the concurrence of geological and hydrometeorological events at the same location. According to Gaprindashvili, “a disaster of such scale is not expected at this stage.’’
13:10 - Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili arrived in Racha and held a meeting at the emergency headquarters in Oni municipality’s town hall for handling the Shovi disaster - informs the government administration.