TBILISI, June 17. /TASS/. A charity fund for assistance to the city zoo has been set up in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, the zoo directorate said on Wednesday.
"About 50% of all the animals kept in the zoo drowned during the June 13-14 flooding and a part of the enclosures are still inundated," a message from the directorate said. "Before the rescue and restoration works are over, it will be impossible to specify the precise figure of animal losses."
The message also said that some animals had escaped from their cages at the peak of the inundation. The zoo’s staff and workers of rescue services sedated them into sleep and took them away to an area where they would not pose any danger for humans.
Some of the runaway predatory animals got on to an automobile road that usually has many passersby and that is why police special assignment forces had to kill some of the predators.
Earlier reports said a runaway tiger had killed a man in a city district adjoining the zoo.
This is the biggest flood in Tbilisi’s history. Georgian hydrologist Dabid Kereselidze said on Wednesday it had been caused by a landslide in the basin of the river Vere and heavy rainfall in the city’s environs.
As a result, water level in the river rose by eleven to thirteen meters during night hours.
The natural calamity has claimed the lives of seventeen people and another five are still listed as missing.
Hundreds of residential houses, underground walkways and city squares have been inundated. Automobile roads and electricity transmission lines are heavily damaged.
The efforts to eliminate the aftermaths of the flood involve municipal services, forces of the Interior Ministry, Army units, and volunteers.
In the meantime, the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation of possible encroachments on safety regulations during construction works in the Vere River gorge, specifically, in the process of building an automobile road there in the period of 2009 through 2011.
Ecologists opposed the construction project but the then national authorities led by President Mikhail Saakashvili kept assuring the public quarters that all the safety standards had been taken account of.
"Specialists will probe into the causes and circumstances that led up to the calamity," Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said earlier on Wednesday.