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TBILISI, June 17. /TASS/. Death toll from the recent devastating flooding in the Georgian capital city Tbilisi has reached 18, Georgian Prime Minister Irakliy Garibashvili said on Wednesday.
"Today, one more dead body was found, the man has been identified," he said at a meeting of the emergency headquarters for the elimination of the flood consequences. "As of today, the death toll from the June 14 flooding has reached 18, four more persons are missing."
Heavy rainfalls in Tbilisi overnight to June 14 sent Tbilisi’s River Vere bursting its banks. Ground floors of more than 100 houses, underground walkways, squares have been flooded. Water has damaged motor ways, electricity transmission lines and other infrastructure facilities. More than a hundred families lost their homes. These people were accommodated at hotels.
This was the biggest flood in Tbilisi in the past 55 years. Georgian hydrologist David Kereselidze said earlier on Wednesday it had been caused by a landslide in the basin of the River Vere and heavy rainfall in the city’s environs. He said water level in the River Vere had risen by 11 to 13 metres during night hours. "During the previous big flood, on July 4, 1960, water level rose by five metres," he noted, adding that a dam was badly needed in the Vere basin near Tbilisi to regulate water flows in the river.
The 45-kilometre long River Vere originates in the eastern slopes of the Trialetsky ridge. The area of its basin is 194 square kilometres. The Vere flows into the Kura in the centre of Tbilisi.