Observer: “The Tbilisi Flood Brings a Wave of Volunteers”

Thousands of volunteers help to clear debris that devastated an area of Tbilisi in the fatal flood. Photo by N. Alavidze/, Jun 17, 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia

Images of a dazed hippopotamus in the middle of a big city, lions wandering the streets or of dead animals covered in thick mud have circulated the world this week and while these sights of the aftermath of the Tbilisi flood are compelling, they "should not obscure the human dimension of this tragedy”, writes Lincoln Mitchell in an opinion piece for the Observer.

This flood, like many natural disasters, has set off a spate of accusations but the Georgian people, as the Mayor indicated, have responded admirably. Thousands of volunteers have come to Tbilisi to help with the recovery. They have shoveled mud and raised money to help the victims of the flood, writes Mitchell.

The flood has come at the beginning of summer, a time when Georgia is usually better known for beautiful weather, delicious seasonal fruit and a vibrant outdoor cafe culture in Tbilisi. For a poor country like Georgia, this also means critical revenue from tourists, but now that is threatened as some roads and houses are damaged and the rebuilding is just beginning.”

But the people of Tbilisi are resilient and are working together to overcome this natural disaster.

Over the next months, the political roots of this disaster, and its relationship to climate change, may become more clear, but for now, the best of Georgia is on display not in the good wine, abundant produce or Black Sea resorts, but in the volunteers who are coming together to help rebuild their city.”

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