Teams of emergency workers are carrying out intensive search and rescue (SAR) operations after a massive mudflow in the mountain resort town of Shovi in Oni municipality in Georgia, on 03 August 2023.
The SAR operations involve 400 firefighters, police units, drones, special equipment and border police helicopters, the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Georgia said. Further personnel are likely to be deployed as the search area widens.
As of 05 August, 12 bodies had been recovered. At least 210 people were evacuated from the disaster zone, according to Minister of Health Zurab Azarashvili. A further 25 people are believed to be still missing or unaccounted for.
On a visit to the affected areas, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said, “I would like to express my deep sorrow and condolences to the families of our citizens who unfortunately died as a result of this great tragedy. Again, I share their grief. This is a very serious tragedy and the whole nation is, of course, united around this great tragedy.”
Specialists from Georgia’s National Environmental Agency are inspecting the site. In a statement of 05 August, the agency suggested the mudflow was partly caused by recent intense melting of the Buba and Tbilisa glaciers along with subsequent heavy rainfall.