Environment

Tbilisi on edge as strong rain brings fear of ‘another 2015’

by | June 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong rain with hail hit Tbilisi and some other parts of Georgia on Saturday, causing damage to cars, infrastructure and crops. As some Tbilisians feared a repeat of the tragic flooding in 2015, the police blocked Vake-Saburtalo Road in Tbilisi following advice

Environment

Massive snowfall causing problems in western Georgia

by | February 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Massive snowfall is causing problems in western Georgia, especially the two regions Samegrelo and Svaneti, where the snow cover in some places exceeds one meter. An avalanche cut off an important road connecting Zugdidi and Mestia, the administrative centers

Environment

Locals rescue two youth from the snow after avalanche

by | December 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two young people were pulled out of the snow alive Monday evening after being caught by an avalanche in a mountainous part of Georgia’s Adjara region. Locals helped the two survive the ordeal. They did not have life-threatening injuries but were taken to hospital.

Environment

Construction work ends on Georgia’s first wind farm

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Construction work on Georgia’s first wind farm has been completed near Gori, the Energy Development Fund of Georgia announced. The facility consists of six turbines, each with a power output of 3.45MW.

Environment

Strong rain and flooding in Batumi

by | September 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Black Sea coast was hit by strong rain on Friday, flooding the streets and inundating ground floors and basements in Batumi, a city of 150,000 people. Emergency workers were still pumping out the flood water from houses

Environment

Green activists keep up pressure on City Hall for tree-cutting scandal

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The eco-activists of Guerilla Gardening rallied in front of Tbilisi City Hall again on Friday, demanding the dismissal of the two bureaucrats in charge of tree cutting in the capital. They demand the dismissal of the head and the deputy of City Hall’s

Environment

Tbilisi mayor’s speech interrupted by protesters against tree-felling

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor defended his conduct in the tree-felling scandal at an extraordinary City Council meeting Friday but had to halt his speech because of interruption by protesters. Environmentalists claim Mayor Davit Narmania

Environment, News

Anti-tree felling protester in Tbilisi hospitalized after hunger strike

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Guerilla Gardening group is continuing their protest outside City Hall against the recent tree-cutting in the capital. One of the group’s leaders was hospitalized on Wednesday after being on hunger strike for seven days, but she was replaced by another activist.

Environment

Borjomi park partly destroyed by flooding after strong rainfall

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A historical park in the southern Georgian resort town Borjomi was partly destroyed by flooding Thursday evening. Strong rain flooded houses and streets and trees more than a hundred years old were torn down. Infrastructure was damaged.

Environment

Two drown in western Georgia as rain continues ‘almost non-stop’

by | July 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year-old boy has drowned in the river Abashistskali in Martvili, western Georgia. The boy's body was pulled out of the river Friday morning. Elguja Jamrishvili, head of the Underwater Federation of Georgia, who was searching

Environment

Road connecting Georgia and Russia still closed due to risk of landslide

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road through Dariali Valley is still closed because of further landslides after the June 23 incident. According to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, traffic will be restricted until July 7, as it can not be ruled out

Environment

Protests resume against the Nenskra hydro power plant in Svaneti

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Up to two hundred locals and environmental activists gathered in Chuberi in Upper Svaneti on Sunday as the protests against the planned Nenskra hydro power plant resumed. Activists argue that if built, the dam on the Nenskra river will deprive

Environment

Early evacuation averted tragedy as new landslide hit Georgia-Russia border

by | June 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia airlifted 60 people to the border crossing at Larsi on Sunday. The travellers had been stuck in Kazbegi since Thursday night, when a mudslide cut off a section of road in Dariali Valley. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said around 60 people

Environment

Svan council convenes to stop hydro power plants

by | June 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Resistance against the Nenskra hydro power project in Georgia’s northern Svaneti region has caused locals to restore the traditional ruling body lalkhor in order to increase the community’s impact on the national decision-making process. A congress

Environment

Crops wiped out by hail in Shida Kartli, anti-hail rockets ineffective

by | May 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Crops were destroyed by a hailstorm in several municipalities of Georgia’s Shida Kartli province on May 26. In the hardest hit village Ebnisi the harvest was almost completely devastated. The local municipality is now estimating the cost of the damage.

Environment

Tbilisi Ugly Walk – Green activist group against disfeaturing city’s urban image

by | May 30, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - About thirty people, Tbilisians as well as number of foreigners, gathered on Sunday to take an unusual tour of the capital – Tbilisi Ugly Walk – which was aimed at exposing the city’s recent architectural history with three different political periods - ‘Shevardnadze Era’ (1993-2003), ‘Saakashvili Era’ (2003-2012) and ‘Ivanishvili Era” (2012 to present).

Environment

Eight activists arrested in Nenskra power plant protests

by | May 26, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Svan campaigners declare that their protests will continue as long as no alternatives to the current project assuming flooding of their native valley are presented.

Environment

Environmentalists call Tbilisi mayor ‘enemy of the city’, interrupt speech

by | May 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Environmental activists interrupted a speech by Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania on Tuesday during a session of the City Council, accusing him of being an ‘enemy of the city’. The activists protested the recent selling off of a part of the city’s botanical garden,

Environment

Svaneti gold rush from Saint Kitts and Nevis

by | May 13, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A wave of protests and civil activism erupted in Svaneti against a planned gold mining project, while the people behind it remain hidden in offshore shadows. The tiny village of Eli, more commonly known by its Svan name Ieli,

Environment

Apartment block planned on cemetery for German prisoners from WWII

by | March 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A construction company plans to build residential apartments on what according to locals is a cemetery for German prisoners of war from World War II. According to the environmentalist group Guerrilla Gardening Tbilisi, construction is planned

Environment

Hotel construction permit in Tbilisi park revoked by court

by | March 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Wednesday, after a two-year-long legal dispute, Tbilisi City Court revoked the construction permit for Budapest Hotel, which is planned to be built in Vake Park in Tbilisi, journal Liberali  reported. Wednesday’s ruling concerned a lawsuit

Environment

UNM activists join environmentalists in stopping Ivanishvili’s tree-moving

by | February 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were detained Wednesday during a rally in Tsikhisdziri on the Black Sea coast near Kobuleti. They were protesting against the removal of three giant old trees which they suspect will be hauled by boat 40km up the coast

Environment

Traffic problems in midst of massive snowfall in Georgia

by | January 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Intense snowfall and strong wind is causing trouble for drivers on the E60 highway through Georgia and Batumi's palm trees are covered in white. The Road Department now calls on everyone to avoid the Zestaponi-Senaki section of the E60

Environment

E60 through Georgia cut off by flood for the third time

by | December 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A section of the E60, the main highway east-west through Georgia, has once more been cut off because a river spilled over its banks near Kutaisi. The damaged section is the 206th km of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road, the same section which

Environment

Flood prevention work begins in Tbilisi hills to prevent new disaster

by | November 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall has begun clean-up work on the Tskneti-Betania road close to the capital, which was the origin of a landslide that caused a flood wave in Tbilisi in June, 2015. City Hall said on Saturday that experts have finished examining

Environment

One man dies in landslide in southwestern Georgia

by | October 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died in a landslide in southwestern Georgia on Sunday. The victim, 58 year old Otar Davitadze, was on night watch supervising machinery in an open pit mine when a landslide hit in the village Akhalsheni, Khelvachauri.

Environment

Strong rain triggered landslides in Adjara, Georgia

by | October 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong rain overnight Thursday caused flooding and landslides in the Adjara region, in the southwest of Georgia. In Kobuleti, a Black Sea coastal resort, railway traffic was cut off and landslides triggered in the highlands. No casualties have

Environment

Bad weather caused damage in three parts of Georgia this weekend

by | October 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia was hit by a spell of bad weather Saturday night, with hailstorm, strong rain and high winds. The hailstorm in Akhaltsikhe, in the south, lasted for almost one hour. In several villages, crops were destroyed and houses damaged.

Environment

Anti-hail rocket crashes into house in Georgia

by | September 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An anti-hail shell fell on a house in Kakheti Wednesday night, damaging the roof and wall. Delta, a defense company run by the government, installed the anti-hail system in Kakheti earlier this year to protect the harvest. Hail has long

Environment

Power cut and flooded streets in Batumi

by | August 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain battered the Black Sea port of Batumi on Tuesday, causing flooding. Several streets including the entrance to the city were blocked by the flood, while rescue workers tried to help with the first floors of buildings that were full of water.

Environment

Tbilisi flood was preceded by more than 100mm of rainfall

by | July 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new study shows that there was more than 100 mm of precipitation the night of June 13-14, when a disastrous flood killed at least 19 people in Tbilisi. Three are still missing after the flood, which destroyed many houses and cars

Environment

Hail hits Kakheti wine heartland

by | July 23, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Hailstorm once again hit Telavi and Kvareli municipalities, heartland of Georgia’s grape growing and wine producing Kakheti region in Eastern Georgia, badly damaging famous vineyards, as well as watermelon and corn fields.

Environment

Small landslide in village near Tbilisi, origin of catastrophic flood

by | July 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--There was a small landslide this morning in a village near Tbilisi, the same place where a landslide caused a catastrophic flood wave in a river valley June 13. Thursday’s landslide damaged a road and utility pipe which supplies households

Environment

Flooded areas of Tbilisi are being disinfected

by | June 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Health Ministry in Georgia has sent teams to disinfect five areas that were hit by a disastrous flood in Tbilisi on June 14 to prevent the spread of disease. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko named the targeted areas as Mziuri Park, Zoo, Svanidze Street,

Environment, News

Explanations differ about what caused disastrous flood in Tbilisi

by | June 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The clean-up effort continues after Sunday’s flood, which left at least 17 dead, as attention turns to what might have caused such a disaster. A handful of reasons have been given, which all may be grouped according to political affiliation. Some people blame

Environment

Landslide victim found after ten days of search

by | June 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--After ten days of search, rescue workers discovered the body of a shepherd who was taken by a landslide on June 2 along with hundreds of sheep and cows. Giorgi Shetikauri, 52, was discovered in the morning on June 12 under the ruins of hut in Shatili.

Environment

Hard rain destroys vineyards in Georgia

by | June 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hard rain continues to batter Georgia and over the weekend partly destroyed vineyards in villages Argokhi, Maghraani and Babaneuri in Akhmeta region, eastern Georgia. Hail stones also damaged the roofs of several houses in the villages Zemo

Environment

Storm continues to cause damage in Georgia

by | June 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hailstorm and rain continues to destroy crops, kill poultry and livestock and flood houses in several parts of Georgia. Last evening, a hailstorm hit the Dusheti region and the flooded river carried away poultry and livestock. “It was raining with hail for

Environment

Anti-hail rockets deployed to save crops in Georgia

by | May 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An anti-hail system was activated yesterday and for the first time helped partly prevent a hailstorm from destroying harvest in Kakheti. But part of the harvest was destroyed because the system started functioning 20 minutes late. The State Security

Environment

Court decides that RMG Gold must allow inspection of ancient mine

by | May 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Wednesday decided that a mining company must allow experts access to a site so they can inspect an ancient gold mine which was destroyed last December. Tbilisi City Court ruled that the parties in the conflict, experts and witnesses

Environment

Govt coalition sabotaged vote over inquest into destruction of ancient site

by | March 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia again failed to create a commission to study the destruction of an ancient gold mine in December. Scientists have found more than 5,400 years old human artefacts in the Sakdrisi cave near Bolnisi, but the archaeologically

Environment

Court rules Sakdrisi should have remained protected heritage site

by | March 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government lost its appeal in the case about lifting the protected status of an ancient gold mine in order to open for commercial exploitation. Tbilisi City Court decided last summer that the ministry was wrong

Environment

Ombudsman says lifting of ancient gold mine’s heritage status was illegal

by | February 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the ombudsman claims that a government official broke the law when he greenlighted the destruction of a 5,400 year old cave complex with invaluable archaeological findings. In December, the Russian company RMG Gold

Environment

Uncertain if Georgian parliament will investigate destruction of ancient mine

by | February 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia has still not created a committee to investigate why a pre-historic gold mine was destroyed by a Russian mining company in mid December last year. The Free Democrats on Friday nominated one of their members to chair

Environment

Work halted on new hotel in Vake Park

by | February 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--City Hall temporarily halted construction work on a new hotel in Vake Park in central Tbilisi on Wednesday. Environmental activists from a group called Guerrilla Gardening gathered in the park warning that the workers are in violation of law

Environment

Activists say ‘SOS’ for Old Tbilisi as massive development goes ahead

by | February 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people marched through Tbilisi on Saturday to protest against the construction of a number of massive buildings in different locations mostly in the old part of the capital. Protesters gathered outside Tbilisi City Council and walked toward

Environment

New day of protest against hotel in Vake Park

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Environmental activists in Tbilisi on Wednesday continued their protest against the construction of a hotel inside one of the city’s central parks. City Hall decided to fine the company for minor violations, but protesters want a halt in the construction

Environment

Traffic restrictions lifted on most roads in Georgia after heavy snowfall

by | January 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic restrictions have been lifted on most road sections in Georgia after being closed due to heavy snowfall that began on January 6. According to the most recent data from the road department, traffic is now moving freely through the Rikoti

Environment

Locals in Tbilisi demonstrating against Chinese road construction company

by | January 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a village just south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi, locals are protesting against a Chinese company which they claim is destroying their farm land. Residents in Krtsanisi fear that if the company continues its work, a road leading to the village

Environment

Four environmental activists detained outside city council in Tbilisi

by | December 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four environmentalists were detained outside the city council building in Tbilisi on Wednesday. The four were demonstrating against the project Panorama Tbilisi, which involves constructing a new cable car and several buildings in the old

Environment

Georgian parliament halts work in prehistoric mine, orders investigation

by | December 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Wednesday decided to halt work at a prehistoric mine that was almost destroyed by a mining company, and to put together a commission to investigate the legality of the ongoing work. The cave complex in Sakdrisi has more

Environment

Tbilisi “invaded” by workers from Russian mining company

by | December 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi was Tuesday “invaded” by workers from a Russian mining company who are angry over the suggestion that they should halt work to protect a 5,400 years old archaeological site. The workers from Sakdrisi in southern Georgia gathered

Environment

Groups want independent inquest into destruction of ancient gold mine

by | December 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations in Georgia demand an inquest into how an important archaeological site was almost completely destroyed by a mining company a few days ago. The 5,400 years old gold mine in Sakdrisi

Environment

Outrage in Tbilisi over destruction of 5,400 year old gold mine

by | December 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The news that a prehistoric mine has been damaged by a mining company sparked outrage in Tbilisi Tuesday. People gathered in the evening outside the National Agency on Cultural Heritage Protection to demand the Georgian culture

Environment

Georgian patriarch deplores destruction of ancient mine

by | December 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The influential Georgian patriarch on Sunday criticized a company which is excavating an ancient mine in the southern part of the country, and called on the government to intervene. Mining company RMG Gold on Saturday resumed work at Sakdrisi,

Environment

Mining work resumed at prehistoric Sakdrisi site

by | December 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mining work resumed at Sakdrisi on Saturday, a site where scientists and environmentalist groups say is an ancient gold mine with invaluable artifacts from prehistoric man. The controversy about the mine near Bolnisi in the southern part of Georgia has involved

Environment

Mystery: Why is the water level so low in Mtkvari (Kura)?

by | December 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Water levels have fallen drastically the last few days in the biggest river in the South Caucasus, causing massive fish die-off. The Mtkvari originates in Turkey, runs eastward across Georgia and Azerbaijan, emptying into the Caspian Sea.

Environment

Snow blocks roads in Georgia

by | November 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is currently rerouted from Chakvi-Makhinjauri highway in western Georgia after a landslide on Sunday blocked the road. According to the Regional Development and Infrastructure Ministry, about 20-30 thousand cubic meters of land collapsed

Environment, News

Bad weather causes flooding in Georgia

by | October 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bad weather continued to cause problems in many parts of Georgia on Sunday. A storm was raging on the Black Sea coast while rivers were flooded, damaging roads and houses in villages. The river Khobistskali spilled over its banks, paralyzing the road

Environment, News

Georgian authorities issue warning about new storm in southwest

by | September 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain hit Georgia’s southwestern parts on Monday, but so far without causing the amount of damage which was feared after meteorologists issued a dire forecast the day before. Last night, there was strong wind and a constant downpour

Environment, News

Western Georgia flooded by heavy rain

by | September 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm of strength five hit western Georgia early in the morning on September 24 and caused damage to infrastructure, floods and landslides in the Adjara and Guria regions. In Guria, a river flooded a school in Shemokmedi, students and staff were  evacuated by the

Environment, News

Storm causes landslides and power cuts in western Georgia

by | September 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm Sunday night left about 7,000 households without electricity in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. According to local media, a further 1,800 families are without electricity in Khelvachauri municipality. There has been heavy rain in Batumi

Environment, News

Groups sound final alarm for threatened landscape in Georgia

by | September 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opponents of the Khudoni hydropower project met in Mestia on Thursday to sound the final alarm before a massive dam floods parts of the unique Svaneti region, threatening an age-old cultural landscape. The Svaneti region is a rare landscape

Environment, News

Building of gigantic hydro power dam may be postponed

by | September 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The building of a controversial hydropower dam in a mountainous region of Georgia may be further postponed, if the company behind it fails to submit the required documents in time. The planned Khudoni hydropower project is located

Environment, News

Georgia warns of possible new landslide in Dariali Valley

by | September 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Geologists in Georgia say heavy rainfall would cause another landslide in Dariali Valley, where eight people have already been killed this year in two natural disasters. Six people were killed in a landslide in Dariali Valley May 17, and two more

Environment, News

Conflict erupts about illegal tree-cutting in Georgia

by | August 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals demonstrated Friday in a Georgian village because of strict rules about the cutting of trees for fire wood. People in Khaishi, in the northern part of Georgia, blocked the Zugdidi-Mestia highway because of sanctions introduced

Environment, News

Danger of more landslides in Dariali

by | August 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is a danger that more snow may come loose from Devdorak glacier and trigger another landslide in Dariali Valley, Georgia’s Environment Ministry warns. Experts working for the National Agency of Environment have visually surveyed

Environment, News

New catastrophic landslide hits Georgia’s Dariali Valley, two missing

by | August 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three months after a landslide disaster in a Georgian valley near the Russian border, another landslide struck Thursday, severing the only road across the Caucasus mountain range and cutting gas supply to Armenia. Two people are missing.

Environment, News

Health minister warns about heat wave in Georgia

by | August 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian health minister warns people against staying too long out in the sun as temperatures many places in Georgia will surpass 40 degrees Celsius (104 F), according to the national environmental agency. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko

Environment, News

A hundred houses flooded in Georgian village Kvishkheti

by | August 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A hundred houses were flooded in a small Georgian village Tuesday night. Due to heavy and long rain, villages were flooded in an area near Khashuri in the central parts of Georgia. The flood hit hardest in Kvishkheti, which

Environment, News

Three died when river flooded village in Georgia

by | July 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people died when the town Vani in western Georgia was flooded on Sunday. Heavy rain made the river swell and swoop up several cars and carry them away. A total of five people were in the cars. Three were found Sunday night, one of whom

Environment, News, Youth

Green concert against maximum resource extraction

by | July 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--What connects the Khudoni hydro power project, a prehistoric gold mine, shrinking green areas in Tbilisi and human rights abuses in the mining industry? They are all problems caused by the government's economic policy, according to the youth group

Environment, News

Rebellion against oil company in Georgian village

by | June 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals have rebelled against an oil company that wants to search for oil in an eastern Georgian town. People fear that they may lose their water supply. On Wednesday, they blocked the road for employees of Canargo Georgia and didn’t let

Environment, News

Another landslide blocks main east-west road in Georgia

by | June 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another landslide Tuesday blocked the main road that connects western and eastern Georgia. The first landslide damaged the road through Rikoti Pass on June 12, but the pass was cleaned and reopened after a few days. Tuesday morning

Environment, News

Court faults Georgia’s lifting of mine’s protected status

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday canceled a decision by the Culture Ministry to remove the protected area status of Sakdrisi, an ancient gold mine which archaeologists say has more than 5,400 years old traces of humans. The court’s decision means

Environment, News

Dariali Valley evacuated after landslide alert

by | June 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Clean-up work in Dariali Valley in northern Georgia was resumed on Saturday, a day after  workers were evacuated due to a risk of a new landslide. Seismologists registered microquakes in Devdoraki glacier, which the government’s experts said was the direct

Environment, News

Calls to restore heritage status for Sakdrisi mine

by | June 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A rally was held Thursday to demand the restoration of protected area status for the old Sakdrisi mine in southern Georgia. The rally took place outside the National Cultural Heritage Protection Agency in Tbilisi and was organized by environmental

Environment, News

Heavy rains hit Georgia, a man drowned near Borjomi

by | June 4, 2014

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A 25-year-old man has drowned in a river Sakirula, near resort town Borjomi, in southern Georgia on Tuesday after heavy rains caused floods across the area. Murman Lomsadze has virtually been washed away from his own yard and drowned

Environment, News

Court temporarily bans mining in Sakdrisi

by | June 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has suspended a decree by the Ministry of Culture that gave a green light to begin mining at the site of an alleged ancient gold mine in south east Georgia. RMG Gold, a gold mining company that was prohibited from carrying on work in Sakdrisi,

Environment, News

Temporary road to be opened in Dariali

by | June 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For over two weeks, the only road through the Caucasus mountain range has been closed due to a massive landslide May 17. Now, Georgian authorities say a new temporary road will be opened in few days, after intense work to dig a new path

Environment, News

Search for bodies continuing after May 17 landslide

by | May 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly two weeks after a catastrophic landslide hit Dariali Valley in the Caucasus mountains, the search is continuing for four people who are still missing. Three have been found dead. The Road Department in Georgia is working in two shifts to clean

Environment, News

Third victim found after big landslide in Georgia

by | May 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A dead body was found Friday night during the ongoing search and rescue operation following the landslide in Dariali Valley on May 17. This third casualty of the disaster was also found inside a tunnel that is part of a hydro power development

Environment, News

One more found dead after Dariali landslide

by | May 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the victims in the May 17 Dariali landslide has been found dead inside a tunnel that was dug out in connection with an ongoing hydro power development in the valley. The body most likely belongs to a truck driver, according to rescue workers,

Environment, News

Landslide update: search continues as hope fades away

by | May 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The rescue operation in Dariali Valley is continuing, though officials at the Emergency Management Department say there is now almost no hope of finding anyone alive. Seven people, Turkish and Ukrainian nationals and one Georgian, are still missing.

Environment, News

Six still missing after massive landslide in Georgia

by | May 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people are still missing after the landslide in Dariali Valley on May 17, among them Georgians, Ukrainians and Turkish citizens, according to the Georgian interior minister. 12 Turkish citizens were rescued out of a tunnel, while two drivers

Environment, News

One dead, seven missing after landslide

by | May 19, 2014

TBILISI,DFWatch--Seven people are reported missing and one dead, according to the latest information from Dariali Valley, where a massive landslide struck Saturday morning. The government’s security and crisis management council on Sunday published a statement

Environment, News

Environmental group warned about landslide risk

by | May 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--An environmental group in Georgia warned two years ago that constructing a hydro power station in Dariali Valley would increase the risk of landslides. Five people are missing and a hundred and fifty have been rescued out of the disaster area

Environment, News

Five missing after massive landslide in Georgia

by | May 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A landslide in Dariali Valley in northern Georgia has severed the only road across the Caucasus Mountain Range. Five people are still missing. Locals say three Turkish construction workers died who were working on the Dariali hydro power station.

Environment, News

Journalist breaks into endangered archaeological site

by | May 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Saturday, there was a scuffle between a journalist and guards working for RMG Gold, a Russian mining company digging in a prehistoric cave complex in the south of Georgia. RMG Gold issued a statement saying that their guards were confronted by a

Environment, News

Wolf pack attacked livestock near Tbilisi

by | April 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A pack of wolves has attacked livestock in a village near Tbilisi, Interpressnews reports. The wolf attack took place in the village Kodistskaro, near the town Kaspi, and only 60 km from the center of the Georgian capital. The news agency reports

Environment, News

Protesters weary of RMG’s intentions at prehistoric mine

by | April 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students, youth and environmental activists are still camped near a prehistoric gold mine in south Georgia, weary that a mining company might begin digging at the still sparsely surveyed archaological site. About a week ago,

Environment, News

Georgia halts RMG’s mining at prehistoric site

by | April 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s culture minister promises to halt excavation work at an ancient a gold mine in the south of the country after protesters camped near the site raised the alarm that it was being damaged by RMG Gold. Culture Minister Guram Odisharia

Environment, News

Protest intensifies as RMG starts digging at ancient mine

by | April 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Protesters who are camped near an ancient gold mine in southern Georgia say the mining company RMG Gold started excavation work on a section of the mine on Tuesday afternoon, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied this. The tent camp at Sakdrisi

Environment, News

UN helping Georgia improve disaster preparedness

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Nations will help Georgia strengthen its preparedness against natural disasters. “Georgia is often challenged by the risk of natural disasters, which seriously jeopardizes the country’s economy, as well as our citizens,” Environment

Environment, News

Dead fish found on shores of recreational lake near Tbilisi

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large number of dead fish has been discovered on the shores of Kumisi Lake. Specialists at the National Food Agency claim the fish died due to a lack of water and oxygen. Kumisi Lake is a popular place for anglers and lies about 20 km south

Environment, News

Police beat villagers for Norwegian hydro power in Georgia

by | March 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Saturday broke up a protest in a village where a Norwegian company wants to build a hydro power plant. About two hundred policemen were mobilized to break through a road block put up by villagers in Ghurta, in the south western Adjara

Environment, News

Energy minister attacks ombudsman over hydro power dam

by | February 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Energy Minister Friday lashed out against the public defender and accused him of lying about not wanting to meet the population in a mountain valley poised to be flooded by a giantic hydro power dam. The Khudoni hydro power project will

Environment, News

Georgia halts surveying work for mega-dam

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Energy Ministry in Georgia says the government is taking into account the requests of villagers in Khaishi and has halted surveying work in their village. The construction of the massive Khudoni hydropower station in northern Georgia

Environment, News

Some roads closed, deep freeze expected in Georgia

by | January 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is prohibited on the Gudauri-Kobi section of the road from Mtskheta to larsi via Stepantsminda due to the avalanche danger. The Environment Ministry warned about possible avalanches in this section of road. According to the Road Department,

Environment, News

Villagers block road to stop hydro power dam

by | January 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--People from the Svaneti mountain village Khaishi Wednesday demonstrated against the construction of a gigantic hydro power dam that will wipe out their community. Demonstrators blocked the road to Jvari-Mestia with stones to interrupt land surveying

Environment, News

1000 people demonstrated to save Vake Park in Tbilisi

by | January 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Around a thousand people showed up in Vake Park in Tbilisi Sunday to protest against the construction of a new hotel. The event, which was planned on Facebook, brought together people, families, some with dogs or carrying balloons, enjoying snacks

Environment, News

Rally against planned new hotel in Vake Park, Tbilisi

by | January 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--People Friday demonstrated in front of Tbilisi City Hall against a private company's plans to build a new hotel inside the publicly owned Vake Park in the capital. Behind the project is Tiflis Development Company, and the hotel is planned at the location

Environment, News

Power cuts continue in Georgia ten days after snowfall

by | December 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ten days after snow fell in the eastern Adjara region of Georgia, frustration is growing as there are still problems with supply of electricity, natural gas and water. December 13, people demonstrated in Batumi against what they feel is a lack of

Environment, News

Georgia creates crisis management centers

by | December 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia on Sunday created two new bodies to address urgent problems. The first one is a temporary center for crisis management to deal with the problems caused by bad weather and earthquakes. The second state body is a center to

Environment, News

86 schools closed in Georgia due to snow

by | December 13, 2013
snow_storm_batumi_2013-12-09_-_009

TBILISI, DFWatch--86 schools in Georgia are closed due to bad weather, according to the Education Ministry. 69 of them is in the Adjara region – Keda, Shuakhevi and Khelvachauri. Four schools are closed in Guria, six in Imereti, four in Svaneti, one school in Kakheti, one in

Environment, News

Skating arena collapses in Georgia

by | December 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--An ice skating arena in Batumi, Georgia, collapsed Thursday due to heavy snowfall. The last five days there has been an electricity problem in Batumi, in the Adjara region, as transmission lines and poles were damaged due to the amount of snow in recent

Environment, News

150 000 households still without electricity in Georgia

by | December 12, 2013
snow_storm_batumi_2013-12-09_-_005

TBILISI, DFWatch--Batumi, one of the largest cities in Georgia, has been without electricity and heating four days due to a snow storm. There is still more than one and half meter snow cover in Batumi and the rest of the mountainous Adjara region. Some streets

Environment, News

Two die as greenhouse collapses near Batumi

by | December 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons have died after a roof of a greenhouse collapsed in Georgia because of bad weather. The accident happened Monday evening in the village Salibauri in the Adjara region and was caused by strong wind and heavy snowfall. Two women, aged 35

Environment, News

Snow storm causes electricity blackout in Georgia

by | December 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--155 000 households are left without electricity in Georgia, according to the Energy Ministry. Deputy Energy Minister Irakli Khmaladze said at a briefing that the bad weather has created problems mainly in the regions in the west of Georgia, and that the damage is caused by snow and blizzard.

Environment, News

NGOs call for new impact assessment of gigantic power dam

by | December 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia ask the government for answers about the construction of Khudoni hydro power station. There are many questions regarding environmental and social issues. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and an

Environment, News

Futuristic service center damaged by storm in Tbilisi

by | December 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The House of Justice in Tbilisi was Tuesday evacuated as a result of high winds which damaged the roof of the building. No-one was injured, but the building remained evacuated throughout the day. The roof was damaged at the entrance of the building,

Environment, News

Bad weather in Georgia, power cuts, road closure

by | December 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 70 000 households in Georgia are left without electricity due to strong wind and snow according to the utility company Energo-Pro Georgia. Electricity was switched off as the lines are damaged and technical crews are now working to rectify

Environment, News

Pshav-Khevsureti mountains to become protected area

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The mountainous Pshav-Khevsureti region in the northeast of Georgia is to be made a protected area. This is a historical region and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The environment committee in parliament has proposed

Environment, News

Two protests during Georgian inauguration

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two separate demonstrations went on on the street outside during the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili in the yard of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday. Labor party leader Shalva Natelashvili rallied supporters and said that the

Environment, News

Storm on Georgia’s Black Sea coast causes damage

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm on the Black Sea coast damaged the boulevard in the Georgian resort city Batumi Sunday and caused 400 meters of a running path to collapse. According to Batumi Mayor Jemal Ananindze, it could cost several million lari to repair the damaged

Environment, News

At least 60 houses flooded in Georgia

by | September 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWath--Heavy rain on Saturday flooded more than 60 houses in Kakheti, a region in eastern Georgia . Rivers burst their banks and water flowed into the first floors and basements in the village Kistauri, in the Akhmeta region. Water destroyed home equipment

Environment, News

Gigantic hydro power dam given a green light in Georgia

by | September 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A public discussion on Thursday about the construction of a new hydro electric power station in Svaneti led to a physical scuffle between supporters and opponents. The reason for disagreement was Khudoni power station, a mega project that was

Environment, News

Storm leaves thick sediment, danger of landslides

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite heavy rains and wind in the west of Georgia the last two days, no serious damage was done to villages and towns. But there is still a danger of landslides. Strong wind and rain caused problems in several regions of Georgia for the last two

Environment, News

Georgia on high alert as flooding expected Thursday evening

by | September 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm system is expected to hit western Georgia for the next two days, starting late on Wednesday. The weather forecast predicts a storm that will spread from the Baltic Sea to the shores of the Black Sea with cold and humid air masses, and

Environment, News

Landslides in Georgia’s Guria region forced families to flee

by | August 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several families have been forced from their homes in Ozurgeti, in Georgia’s western Guria region, due to a landslide. Valerian Chitashvili, governor of Guria, told journalists that two days of heavy rains in the region accelerated the landslides

Environment, News

22 families cut off by flooding in Georgia’s Guria region

by | August 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--22 families are cut off from the outside world due to flood in the village Chanchati, in Georgia's western Guria region. Gulnara Chichua, government trustee in the village, told journalists that the flood also has affected other villages in Guria,

Environment, News

Georgian beach resort on the Black Sea hit by flood

by | August 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Black Sea resort Ureki was flooded after heavy rain on Sunday. Part of the population is leaving the place and requesting help from the government. Tens of houses were flooded, and a landslide has blocked the roads. Kote Sharashenidze,

Environment, News

Heavy rain floods 500 houses in Khoni

by | August 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rain water poured into the village Khoni in western Georgia Friday, flooding the basements and first floors of 500 houses and killing poultry. Locals tell journalists they haven’t slept all night but have been out cleaning their houses and saving

Environment, News

Limestone formation partly destroyed along Kazbegi road

by | August 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large part of a massive limestone formation in Georgia has been destroyed during repair work on a tunnel. The rock formation is located at a section of road between Gudauri and Kobi, leading up into the Kazbegi mountains in the north of Georgia,

Environment, News

River bursts its banks in Ozurgeti, carries away two people in car

by | August 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A river burst its banks in Georgia's western Guria region Monday and flooded about fifteen houses in the town Ozurgeti. According to local media, the water carried a car with two people inside into the river Shuti. One of them was a pregnant woman.

Environment, News

Protesters demand halt in construction work at Turtle Lake

by | August 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A rally was held on Sunday to protest the planned construction of a new restaurant at Turtle Lake in Tbilisi. Demonstrators say it will destroy a recreation zone. The demonstrations started in late July, when there was first put up a sign

Environment, News

People in Senaki are trying to cope with the flood

by | July 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In almost every house in Senaki’s main streets, people are using spades to get rid of mud and water after heavy flooding on Monday. Senaki is a small town in Samegrelo, in the western part of Georgia, with more than 25 000 residents. Elderly people

Environment, News

Senaki partly evacuated due to flooding

by | July 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Part of Senaki in western Georgia has been evacuated because of flooding. Local reporters say more than 70 families have left the town. Hundreds of houses are underwater. The markets, theatre and other facilities are also hit, and car traffic has been rendered impossible.

Environment, News

Heavy rain and flooding in several regions of Georgia

by | July 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain caused flooding in several regions of Georgia Saturday. In Zugdidi, a region bordering the breakaway region Abkhazia, more than 20 villages are flooded, according to local reporters. Didinedzi is hardest hit, and has a water cover of more

Environment, News

Protest against tree-cutting in Tbilisi

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 40 healthy trees were cut at the former psychiatric clinic in Tbilisi on Monday. Youth and locals rallied outside, demanding a stop to the tree-cutting. Rally participants brought posters which read ‘Don’t cut’ and ‘Tbilisi City Hall is an enemy

Environment, News

Storm again damages Kobuleti beach

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain has hit the town Kobuleti on the Black Sea coast for the last two days. Three people were taken to sea by a big wave, and later rescued. The storm on Wednesday lasted just three minutes. Big waves took three youngsters from the beach.

Environment, News

Hailstorm destroys crops in eight villages in eastern Georgia

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A hailstorm Friday night damaged eight villages in Akhmeta in the eastern Kakheti region of Georgia. The damaged villages are Ashkhnis Velebi, Akhshani, Arashenda, Chabinaani, Khorkheli, Zemo Khodasheni, Ozhio and Atskhuri, according to

Environment, News

Another hailstorm hits eastern Georgia

by | May 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A strong hailstorm hit Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region Monday, almost completely destroying fruits and crops in five villages. Giorgi Sibashvili, former Deputy Governor of Kakheti, told Interpressnews that hail has destroyed agricultural lands

Environment, News

EU commits aid to storm victims in Georgia

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The European Union is to help families affected by the July 19 storm in Georgia which levelled more than 40 villages. More than 20 000 families were affected by the storm, which hit the south east part of Georgia. People lost their houses,

Environment, News

Turkish company cancels hydro electric project in Georgia

by | February 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Work to construct one of the biggest hydro electric power stations in Georgia has been halted, after its Turkish investor pulled out. The Georgian government explains that the Turkish investor refused to go through with the project, and therefore a new

Environment, News

Two thousand villagers waiting to know when to move

by | January 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Villagers in Upper Svaneti are waiting for a report which is supposed to guarantee their forced resettlement follows a democratic process. But the country's energy minister said in December that no matter what the results are of the environmental and social impact assessment, the Khudoni hydropower project will be built. Khudoni, or Khudonhesi as it is known in the Georgian language, is a project which was developed in the late Soviet era. It would harvest more of the energy in the steep valleys in Western Georgia which already harbors Europe's largest hydropower dam, Enguri. Popular protest stopped the project in the late 1980s, in which former prime minister Zurab Zhvania played a key role. There are concerns about the massive scale of the project, which will alter the microclimate of the area, as well as displace thousands of people. In recent times, the project has been revitalized with support from the World Bank. But if international standards are to be adhered to, there must be an impact assessment. The company which has been tasked with building Khudoni has ordered such a ...

Environment, News

Georgia allows hunting of endangered species

by | January 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia allows hunting of rare animal species, which could lead to their extinction, environmentalists claim. The legislative changes will also allow hunting in protected areas. Hunting and protection of species is regulated by a kind of laws used under the Soviet Union called normative acts and decrees. The law doesn’t directly says one can kill an animal which is on the Red List, but new normative acts now say that authorities may decide what number of animals can be allowed to be killed. “The decision about allowed amount of harvesting endangered wild animals is made by the Environment Minister based on an individual administrative-legal act,” the law says. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources issued a decree which now allows obtaining animals of certain species, including animals that are on the Red List, a list compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, showing the extinction risk of species. The ministry defines the allowed amount of harvesting certain animals, including ones that are about extinction. Specifically, the following: coypu - 194 animals, rabbits - 615 animals, badger - 168 animals, ...

Environment, News

Turkey plans to divert water from Tbilisi river

by | December 26, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - The river which runs through Tbilisi might have its waters levels lowered, because a Turkish power company wants to tap its energy higher up. The Mtkvari, Georgia’s largest river, may be substantially weakened. This could cause problems not only for Georgians, but also in neighboring Azerbaijan, where it feeds the main drinking water supply the Mingechauri reservoir. It’s a Turkish member of parliament who is the source for this dramatic news, quoted in the newspaper Rezonansi and confirmed by opposition and government in the Georgian parliament. According to Rezonansi, a delegation consisting of the district deputy of Ardagani and a member of the Turkey parliament told about the plan last week in the Georgian parliament. The project has the backing of the Turkish government and envisages building hydroelectric power stations at Beshic Haia at the source of the river Mtkvari. The source lies in the Turkish province of Ardagan. In case a power station cascade is built there, it will mean that some of the river's water flow will be diverted to the Black Sea through Turkey. Leader of the Christian Democrat ...

Environment, News

Interior minister to handle hydro power resettlement

by | November 7, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - The 1970s mega project to build a dam in Khudoni Valley is moving ahead despite obscure funding and secretive implementation. Last week villagers were told they will have to leave. Their resettlement will be planned by an organization founded by Georgia's Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili (pictured). Khudoni would have been the second largest hydro power project in Georgia, after Enguri, Europe's largest. But it was stopped by an environmental campaign over 20 years ago, in which former prime minister Zurab Zhvania played a central role. But the plans have been resurrected in recent years, and in 2009, an Indian-Georgian company called Trans-Electric signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding, which seems to mean that the plans are set to go ahead. In the village Khaishi, Trans-Electric had gathered people November 4 to bring them the sad news: the 200 families who live there will finally have to leave, after three decades living next to the half-completed power station. It will be put into operation in May 2018, 73 months from now, it emerged in a report made by Zviad Tkelidze ...

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