Defence Forces depart to join search, rescue operations in disaster zone in Georgia’s west following landslide

  • The Defence Ministry said the Eastern Command's combat-engineering unit had already left for Shovi with appropriate equipment to respond to the call-up. Photo: Ministry of Defence

Agenda.ge, 4 Aug 2023 - 21:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Defence Forces on Friday said its units had departed to join the ongoing search and rescue operations in the western municipality of Oni to find remaining survivors after a landslide killed at least 11 in the Shovi resort on Thursday.

The Defence Ministry said the Eastern Command's combat-engineering unit had already left for Shovi with appropriate equipment to respond to the call-up.

Photo: Ministry of Defence

It noted that a company-sized unit of the 102nd battalion of the territorial reserve of the National Guard, provided with the latest generation rescue equipment, would also join the rescue efforts. 

The unit had also undergone “specialised” training under the supervision of instructors from the Emergency Situations Management Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Photo: Ministry of Defence

Brigadier General Koba Grigolia, the head of the Georgian Defence Forces Western Command, was in charge of the directions and needs of the involvement of the units, the body said, noting combat-engineering battalions from the Eastern and Western Commands and other relevant units of the Ministry were “in full readiness” to join rescue operations “as soon as” they receive a call-up.

Temur Mgebrishvili, the Head of the Emergency Situations Management Service, made a summary comment to the media regarding today's events and the ongoing operations in the disaster site, by saying that the rescue operations were underway “even now”. 

Temur Mgebrishvili, the Head of the Emergency Situations Management Service, Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs 

The official noted that additional tasks had been defined during the meeting with the Prime Minister, implying the mobilisation of additional forces from tomorrow.

The Georgian Interior Ministry on Friday said 400 rescuers and two helicopters were involved in the search and rescue operation for 35 missing individuals, after 210 were evacuated from the disaster zone late on Thursday.

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