Swiss experts develop landslide warning system in Georgia

The Devdorak Glacier is a valley glacier on the northeastern slope of Mount Kazbek in the Caucasus, near the Georgian Military Road., 07 Apr 2015 - 12:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

International experts are working in northern Georgia’s mountainous area to design a landslide warning system that will give notice to the population of an impending natural disaster.

This early warning system aimed to give adequate notice to locals, and give them time to vacate the area before the natural disaster hit.

The area suffered from two major landslides last year, which claimed the lives of seven people and caused major damage to the North-South gas pipeline that transported natural gas from Russia to Armenia thorough Georgia.

Click here to read Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze’s blog-post written for shortly after the disaster, where he described how the state and rescue groups handled the situation.

Earlier today, Georgia’s Environment Protection Minister Elguja Khokrishvili and Swiss experts travelled to the town of Kazbegi near the Georgia-Russia border to monitor the ongoing natural processes at the Devdorak Glacier, a valley glacier on the northeastern slope of Mount Kazbek in the Caucasus, near the Georgian Military Road.

Swiss experts monitor Devdorak Glacier; Photo by the press office of Georgia's Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources Management.

The glacier is 7.2km long, about 300m wide and has an area of 4.1sqkm. It ends at an elevation of 2,257m. Its surface is dissected by icefalls and fissures and is partially covered by moraine.

The Swiss experts were expected to research the area and then design an alarm notification system, which could provide a few minutes warning of impending landslides.

In this respect, an agreement was signed by Georgia’s National Environmental Agency and the Swiss company GEOTEST.

The experts will choose several locations to install early warning devices that will take environmental readings and monitor results, and when required, notify Georgia’s National Environment Agency about a possible landslide, which will give time for people to evacuate the danger area and ensure safe travel along Georgia’s Military Road, which is a major route through the Caucasus from Georgia to Russia.