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PM: Mudslide Damage Over GEL 10m at Rikoti
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Jun.'11 / 22:17

Damage caused by the largest mudslide in at least fifty years at the Rikoti pass in central Georgia will probably be more than GEL 10 million (about USD 6 million), Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said on Sunday.

Four people were killed and two are missing as the result of mudslide, which damaged key road at a two-kilometer tunnel in Rikoti pass linking eastern Georgia with the western part of the country.

Restoration works are ongoing and about 1,000 workers would be mobilized to restore the road as soon as possible, said PM Gilauri, who was at the mudslide-hit site with some other senior officials.

"The road will be partially restored in three days and it will take 14 days to return the road to pre-disaster condition," PM Gilauri told journalists in Rikoti.

The damaged road is part of Georgia's major east-west route through which international transit is also carried out.

PM Gilauri said that it was possible to arrange passage of 10-20 long-haul cargo trucks per hour via Rikoti, while rest of the traffic had been re-routed towards an alternative road via Sachkhere and Chiatura, which makes distance much longer.

Heavy rain also damaged roads and flooded houses in several villages of the Khashuri district in Shida Kartli region.

PM Gilauri said that amount of damage inflicted to the local population was calculated; he said that additional teams from the emergency service from Tbilisi were sent to the disaster-hit areas.

Bridges and roads were also damaged by the flooding in another part of the country – Dusheti district in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region last night.

In last few days significant damage has been caused by heavy rains in other parts of the country as well, in particular houses and farmlands were flooded in several villages of Akhmeta, Kvareli, Gurjaani and Telavi districts of the Kakheti region.

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