20 Jun 2015 - 15:35
Georgian leaders, high officials and other citizens from all around the country are gathering in a small village in central Georgia today to pay homage to the rescue officer who sacrificed his life to save others during the June 13 deadly flash flood in Tbilisi.
Zurab (Zura) Muzashvili died after he saved seven people then returned to the flooded area to search for other survivors during the major flood, which hit Tbilisi’s Vake-Saburtalo district last Saturday night.
The hero, who was posthumously honoured and awarded a medal for Civic Devotion by Georgia’s President, was buried in his native village of Aghaiani, in the Kaspi district this afternoon.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili said the award was granted for the young man’s "exemplary civic devotion, special civic responsibility and bravery”.
The funeral was attended by the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri and Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani.
"This is such a huge loss for our country,” the Prime Minister said, adding Zura was a "real hero”.
"I want to thank his parents as they have raised a hero for Georgia and for the people of Georgia.”
Nineteen people lost their lives and six more remain missing following what specialists called "the most devastating flooding” in the past 50 years in Tbilisi.
The natural disaster hit the Georgian capital overnight on June 13 and caused extensive damage a part of the Vake district. The country's Finance Minister believed the cost of the disaster would exceed 100 million GEL.
The major flooding swept away cars and houses, destroyed roads and Tbilisi Zoo, where more than 300 animals lost their lives. Several animals escaped, including a tiger who later killed a man in central Tbilisi three days after the natural disaster hit.