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. Zviad Qatsashvili, EMD director, told journalists on Wednesday that none one of the seven missing have been found.
“Although there is still a minuscule chance of finding someone alive,” Qatsashvili said.
Yesterday, rescue workers managed to pull a cargo truck up from under the landslide mud and police say work is underway to clean up the Tergi riverbed and reopen the Georgian Military Route for traffic. This is the main Transcaucasian road connecting South Caucasus with Russia.
Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze said on Wednesday that drivers had been warned about the closure of the road and no-one is allowed to drive there until the road has been cleared.
This is the latest update from Dariali Valley, where a hillside tumbled into the river Tergi on May 17, severing the Transcaucasian road, which runs along the valley.
Several light vehicles and trucks were buried under or flushed away by the landslide. One Ukrainian citizen caught in the landslide died, more than 160 people, including Turkish construction workers working on the Dariali hydro power plant were rescued.
According to rescuer workers, more people have been caught in the landslide in addition to those seven who are known to be missing.
Deputy Energy Minister Ilia Eloshvili said on Wednesday that construction work of Dariali hydro power plant will probably resume in ten days.
An interim report by the Environment Protection Ministry states that the disaster was caused by natural factors, but environmentalist groups suspect that the hydro power project in Dariali Gorge, which includes three power plants, triggered the disaster, and warned about the possibility that it may happen again.