Landslide at northern Devdoraki Gorge, Gov’t reacts to avoid victims

People were evacuated from customs check-point Kazbegi., 23 Jun 2016 - 19:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

A landslide has fallen in Devdoraki Gorge in northern Georgia, blocking roads and a checkpoint at the Georgia-Russia border.

Georgia’s Ministry of Environment said the landslide hit a short time ago. The debris from the landslide has blocked traffic and temporarily suspended all operations at the Kazbegi Customs checkpoint at Georgia-Russia border. 

Relevant state bodies and a working group from the National Agency of Environment of Georgia received signals from the early warning systems which were installed in the Gorge last year. The fast response meant there were no victims, said authorities.

Thanks to the early warning system, the National Agency of Environment were able to send immediate emergency signals to other state agencies about the landslide, and to quickly evacuate people from the danger area and block the roads to avoid casualties. 

Customs employees have been evacuated and  safely transported to a nearby monastery. 

The Ministry said mud was sliding down the area and both sides of the Gorge were blocked. 

The water level inside the Gorge was a little higher than normal. Authorities have closed the road leading to the Gorge until situation has improved. 

The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and other relevant state agencies are on alert and observing the situation. 

The officials said they were ready to act immediately if needed. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs said it was prepared to use helicopters or other means of air travel to evacuate people, if necessary. The Ministry will also carry out a control flight in the area with experts and geologists to fully assess the situation.