400 rescuers, two helicopters involved in search operation after landslide hits western Georgian municipality

In total, 210 individuals have been evacuated from the disaster zone. Photo: Interior Ministry press office

Agenda.ge, 04 Aug 2023 - 11:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Interior Ministry on Friday said 400 rescuers and two helicopters were involved in the search and rescue operation for about 35 missing individuals after a landslide hit the Oni municipality in the Racha region in the country’s west on Thursday. 

The body confirmed early on Friday 140 individuals had been evacuated from the disaster zone following the initial transfer of 70 persons to a safe zone late on Thursday.

The death toll in the disaster has reached six, the Ministry also told Agenda.ge in the early hours on Friday. 

Teimuraz Mgebrishvili, the head of the Emergency Management Service, said cottage areas in Shovi resort had been “completely destroyed” by the landslide, with masses of soil spread on "a large area" and complicating rescue operations. 

Irakli Karseladze, the Infrastructure Minister, said in a Friday update at least 35 individuals were missing. 

Along with the rescuers, employees of Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti police departments are involved in the operations, the Interior Ministry said, adding more than 20 pieces of special hardware were also being used in the efforts. 

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is expected to visit the disaster zone on Friday.