Disaster Damage to Cost Reportedly at least GEL 150m
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Jul.'12 / 15:44

The authorities have started repairing damaged roofs, cleaning up roads, restoring power lines and distributing food items, diesel fuel vouchers and pesticides to locals in Kakheti, heavily hit by the heavy rains, strong winds, hail and flooding overnight on July 19, which wreaked havoc on housing and crop lands in this eastern region of Georgia, as well as in some other provinces of the country.
Two relief and humanitarian organizations, CARE International and World Vision, which conducted a joint rapid assessment (pdf) of eleven communities in the Akhmeta, Telavi and Gurjaani municipalities of the Kakheti region on July 20, estimated "the dramatic effects of the event to be the largest disaster in Georgia since the August 2008 conflict." 

"The government of Georgia expects the total cost of the damages at 150 million GEL [about USD 91 million], with 20,000 households affected and 22,000 hectares of arable land damaged in Kakheti alone," the relief and humanitarian organizations said in a joint statement.

Strong hail also damaged farmlands in several districts of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, including in Aspindza, Adigeni, Vale and Akhaltsikhe, as well as in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.

While visiting one family in the Kakheti region on July 22, whose vineyard was destroyed by the hail, PM Vano Merabishvili said that on top of already announced compensations and aid the government was also considering distribution of wine to the affected households from September. He, however, also said that despite all the efforts undertaken by the authorities, the government would not be able to fully compensate for the inflicted damage.

President Saakashvili said on July 20, that the government "will spend probably hundreds of millions" for relief efforts.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of opposition Georgian Dream coalition, who said would pay GEL 10 million from his multi-million fine to help fill state coffers as his contribution to relief efforts, visited some of the affected communities in the Kakheti region on July 22; he said government's plan to provide from GEL 300 to GEL 1,500 in compensation for lost crops was not enough.

New Rights leader Davit Gamkrelidze was also in the region on July 22 helping some locals in cleaning up works. He called on the authorities to consider providing tax breaks for small businesses in Kakheti.

Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in small parliamentary minority group, whose leaders have also visited the Kakheti region, has called on the government to increase amount of planned compensations to GEL 10,000.

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