Counterpart International has distributed relief supplies to flood-stricken villages in northern Georgia in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and the Shida Kartli regional government.
Counterpart’s on-the-ground team assisted some 1,500 flood-affected households in the communities in Surami, Khashuri and Chumateleti on June 28. More than $500,000 worth of sleeping bags, bed sheets, blankets and boots from the U.S. State Department’s pre-positioned disaster packages, which are stored in Tbilisi, Georgia, were distributed. Additionally, UNHCR, UNICEF, Tbilisi Mayor’s Office and private contributors donated commodity items, such as cots, that were received by the flood-affected households.
“Thanks to the generous support of the State Department, we were able to deliver assistance that will help them get through this difficult time,” says Rang Hee Kim, Director of Humanitarian Assistance at Counterpart. “Local authorities were very effective in the coordination and facilitation of the distribution.”
Flooding and landslides caused by severe rains have killed several people in the Shida Kartli region and blocked one of Georgia’s most important highways. Storms in central Georgia caused the Mtiskhevi river to overflow, triggering avalanches and sweeping away vehicles and buildings in its path. About 1,500 houses in the area were damaged by the flooding. Rising water had reached a depth of 3 meters in some parts of the villages of Surami and Chumateleti.
The situation is critical in Chumateleti, where the river broke its banks and is still flowing into the yards of nearby houses. Georgian special brigades are working in Surami, Khashuri and Chumateleti to clean up roads and canals. According to an estimate provided by Prime Minister Nika Gilauri the damage has exceeded 10 million GEL (nearly $6 million USD).
The timely and efficient response to the flood is being made possible by close collaboration between the U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (EUR/ACE), the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and Counterpart. Through a U.S. Department of State EUR/ACE grant, Counterpart administers pre-positioned disaster packages that are reserved for natural or man-made disasters such as this. Similar packages are located and used for disaster relief in Armenia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan.
Counterpart has operated in Georgia since 1995. Through its network of 960 partner organizations, Counterpart has imported and distributed over $158 million worth of humanitarian assistance to nearly 2.5 million needy Georgians.