Georgia was hit by powerful landslides last week killing nine people in Nergeeti village in Baghdati, while two more individuals in Tkhilvana and Tsoniarisi villages in Adjara. Hundreds of people are at risk of losing their homes.
In light of climatic changes, experts predict a worsening situation in years to come.
Baghdati municipality has never seen such a large-scale landslide which according to the preliminary geological assessment was triggered by continuous rainfall. As they claim, a week of precipitation almost equaled the whole month’s rainfall. “Predictions are impossible under these conditions.”
“Before the landslide hit the village of Nergeeti, we heard the rumbling sound in the forest. It was a nightmare. We spent the whole night on the street,” says Khatuna Khizaneishvili, a village dweller.
If it is impossible to make a prediction, what is the use of compiling records that detail the geological characteristics of certain locations? Among them is a “bulletin” that declares Nergeeti to be a landslide-prone zone.
We asked this question to the head of the National Environment Agency. Vasil Gedevanishvili said that over 50,000 landslide-prone zones have been identified throughout the nation, including Nergeeti village. 22 settlements in Baghdati municipality are in the red zone.
As Gedevanishvili explained, it is “impossible” to do thorough research on all of these areas. The bulletin’s objective is to identify areas that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Following that, additional monitoring is conducted on-site using cutting-edge technology, allowing the agency to avoid accidents even more effectively.
“We now have a landslide monitoring system installed in 18 sites. It is critical to distinguish between a monitoring and early warning system. Installing an early warning system in landslip zones is difficult since no system can predict the time and location of landslip processes,” Gedevanishvili added.
Within a month, the final geological conclusion will be published, allowing the relevant structures to decide whether or not it is safe to continue living in Nergeeti village.