Environmental Agency Head says there was “no basis” for predicting Shovi landslide

Vasil Gedevanishvili, the Head of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency. Photo: Environmental Agency

Agenda.ge, 08 Aug 2023 - 17:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

Vasil Gedevanishvili, the Head of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency, on Tuesday said data obtained from 20 measuring stations operating in the Racha-Lechkhumi region in the country’s west “did not provide a basis” for predicting the landslide that hit the Shovi resort and left 19 people dead on August 3.

Gedevanishvili made the comment in an interview released on Tuesday by the local media outlet Kvira, in which he noted hydrological and meteorological parameters from stations collecting the data in the locality.

He also said the Department of Geology of the Agency was carrying out “regular geological monitoring” throughout the country annually, including in the region in question.

During the monitoring period, over the last few decades, passage of a significant surge of water had not been observed in the Bubistskali river valley”, he told the interview while adding a station operating in the vicinity of Shovi had been transferring observation data to a processing centre.

He also said the Western Regional Geological Service of the Department of Geology had been operating at the National Environment Agency since 2019 and carried out “regular geological monitoring” in regions of Western Georgia including Racha.

The official added monitoring results were published in the annual informational geological bulletin, which was then “promptly sent to relevant agencies, regional administrations and municipalities”.