Catastrophe in Darial Gorge

By Georgy Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

 

The president, prime minister and almost all members of the Cabinet, including law-enforcing ministers, are at the Kazbegi District, not far from the Russian border, where an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe occurred on Saturday: heavy rain and sill deposits caused a landslide on a mountain over the Terek Gorge, blocking the river and the only road connecting Georgia and Armenia with Russia.

Information from the area of disaster is contradictory: originally, three Turkish workers had been reported dead, the information was refuted afterwards. Nonetheless, no one denies that dozens of people went missing or ended up stuck in the “stone trap.”

The landslide happened in an area where a new hydro power plant was under construction on the Russian-Georgian border. Tbilisi media started speculating that the construction, in particular the tunnels, were the cause of the landslide. Minister for Energy Kakha Kaladze denied the rumours immediately and said that the tunnel built for the hydropower plant was, on the contrary, “a salvation” because the River Terek, blocked by the landslide, was given a route to flow through. The landslide did not grow and become a threat to nearby Kazbegi and Vladikavkaz.

Geologists believe that people were not responsible for the disaster. It was caused by the melting of a huge glacier on Mt. Kazbeg.

Traffic on the Georgian Military Road was closed. Hundreds of cars, including ones from Armenia, are turning back, because it is unknown how much time the process of clearing the route will take and whether the millions of cubic meters of earth and stone would be removed. Thus, Georgia and Armenia lost their only road to Russia. Two other roads from Georgia to Russia (through South Ossetia and Abkhazia) have been closed for a long time. The Ministry for Economic Development told Vestnik Kavkaza that the damage will be tangible for the Georgian economy because the Military Georgian Road (Verkhny Lars Customs Office) was the path for Georgian agricultural products, wine and Borjomi to Russia. Many Russian tourists used the road too. Most importantly, Armenia lost its Russian gas supply because of a break on the pipeline. Georgia will not receive its portion of gas as payment for its transit.

5795 views


More Russian news

G7 countries recognize the importance of dialogue with Russia

G7 countries recognize the importance of dialogue with Russia

The G-7 countries have recognized the importance of dialogue with Russia to search for solutions to major international crises, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said. At the same time, he stressed that this …

Caspian flotilla holds exercises in Dagestan and Astrakhan

Caspian flotilla holds exercises in Dagestan and Astrakhan

More than 20 surface ships of the Caspian flotilla and about 500 service men are participating in the military exercises in Dagestan and Astrakhan.  They practice standards of detection, capture of air targets, shooting from …

US media claims Kushner, Russian ambassador discussed setting up secret channel

US media claims Kushner, Russian ambassador discussed setting up secret channel

US media reported, citing unnamed officials, that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner allegedly discussed with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey …

Russian military to prevent Daesh’s retreat from Raqqa to Palmyra

Russian military to prevent Daesh’s retreat from Raqqa to Palmyra

Commanders of the Russian group of forces in Syria has taken measures to avert the withdrawal of the Islamic State militants from Raqqa towards Palmyra, which is located to the south, a source at the Russian Defense Ministry said, TASS …

Moscow marks 99th anniversary of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic

Moscow marks 99th anniversary of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic

Moscow is hosting a traditional solemn event dedicated to the Azerbaijani Republic Day, which is celebrated every year on May 28, as Azerbaijan declared its independence establishing the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on May 28, 1918. The …

Putin discusses Syria with Russian Security Council

Putin discusses Syria with Russian Security Council

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with the permanent members of the national Security Council, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "As for global issues, the operation of the …

Kremlin dispels hopes of Putin-Trump meeting in Europe

Kremlin dispels hopes of Putin-Trump meeting in Europe

A meeting between Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump is not expected to be held in the coming days in Europe, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "No …

Russia-NATO: is rapprochement possible?

Russia-NATO: is rapprochement possible?

There's still potential risk of an accidental conflict

Putin extends powers of current Russian business ombudsman

Putin extends powers of current Russian business ombudsman

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov to extend his term of office at this post. "I think it will be right to offer you extension of your term of …

 Russia#039s minimum wage and subsistence minimum to be equal since 2019

Russia's minimum wage and subsistence minimum to be equal since 2019

Russia's minimum wage will be gradually increased and will reach the subsistence level, the Russian Minister of Labor Maxim Topilin said. He specified that the minimum wage ratio to the subsistence level will …

more Russian news