Fire in Borjomi

Update on Borjomi Fire: PM Involves Military; Belarus, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan Send Support

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Photo: Giorgi Kvirikashvili/fb.com

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has asked the President of Georgia to involve military forces for putting out the forest fire which has been burning for two days in the mountains near the village of Daba in the Borjomi municipality. The fire began on August 20 and has burnt more than 12 hectares of land.

The Prime Minister and President Margvelashvili spoke by phone. President Margvelashvili approved the prime minister’s request and signed the act. The act will then be approved by the Parliament of Georgia, which will gather at a special session tomorrow.

The special command which was established by Prime Minister Kvirikashvili to deal with the forest fire issued an official statement saying that certain areas, such as where the fire originated, have been localized, however the rest of the fire area is large: “Firefighters and rescuers will continue to work. Aviation will renew its forces from the morning.”

Belarus sent a large helicopter which carries 15 tonnes of water to help extinguish the fire. The Embassy of Belarus said it is one of the largest rescue helicopters in the world and it will have 10 rescuers on board.

Turkey sent helicopters on August 21; today Turkey also sent a special fire-fighting plane. Two Turkish, two Georgian, and one Azerbaijani helicopters are working to put out the fire.

According to the Emergency Management Agency, Armenia has also reached out to help by providing Georgia with 13 rescue units, which will involve 65 fire-fighters. Armenian firefighters have already crossed the border with their equipment.

The US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, told journalists that he has requested additional assistance from the government of the United States. Kelly stated that he’s been in touch with the US military, the European Command in Germany and with the US Agency for International Development.

Patriarch Ilia ll held a special church service today in Tbilisi. After the prayer, the Patriarch announced he intends to send clergy to hold prayers in Borjomi gorge.

The CEO of TBC Bank, Mamuka Khazaradze, issued an official statement that TBC Bank is ready to restore 10 hectares of the burnt land in Borjomi gorge. Khazaradze called upon other companies and businessmen to join him. Borjomi waters, Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia, Lisi Green Town, and Anaklia Development Consortium expressed willingness to join TBC Bank in the initiative.

A separate fire started in the village of Zemo Beshuri in the Shida Kartli region. Two hectares of land has already been burnt. The Prime Minister’s special command sent forces to put out the fire, however it has been difficult to put out due to strong winds and the landscape.

During the 2008 August War, Russia burnt 950 hectares of forest in Borjomi, in a fire which continued for several weeks. The social campaign “Agadgine/Restore” was initiated in Georgia, within which 30,000 trees were planted. Many of those trees were now burnt in the forest fire.

Follow here for a timeline about the Borjomi forest fire

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