Two people are missing after a landslide hit Dariali gorge, which closed down road linking Georgia with Russia and damaged gas pipeline running from Russia to Armenia via Georgia.
The landslide, which happened late night on August 20, struck the same area which was hit by massive landslide on May 17 few kilometers south from to the Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border-crossing point with Russia, cutting the road for almost a month.
The landslide on August 20 damaged North-South Pipeline, cutting supply of Russian gas to Armenia via Georgia, according to the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation.
The same pipeline was damaged as a result of the May 17 landslide, which was restored in less than a week.
Officials said that two people – Georgia and Turkish citizens, working on a construction of the hydro power plant in the area, are missing. They are believed to be trapped in power plant’s tunnel.
Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development said that works are underway to clear up the area.
PM Irakli Garibashvili, who is starting an official visit to Armenian on August 21, said in a statement that alarm signal system, installed after the previous landslide, alerted people and made it possible to timely evacuate them from the area.
“As it seems scale and damage is significantly larger than it was in previous landslide [on May 17],” Garibashvili said.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Kazbegi-Larsi border crossing point with Russia and its infrastructure has been flooded.
Official say that similar to the May 17 landslide, the recent one also originated from Devdoraki glacier on the northeastern slope of Mkinvartsveri (Mount Kazbek), bringing a huge amount of mud and debris through a valley eastward towards the Dariali gorge where the river Tergi flows northward towards Russia. Road leading to the Kazbegi-Larsi border crossing point with Russia runs along the river Tergi.
The heavy rain caused the August 20 landslide, officials say.