Statement on the natural disaster in the Dariali gorge, 17 May 2014

The landslide in the Dariali gorge of the Kazbegi municipality has killed several people and left others missing. The disaster also damaged a section of the road formerly known as the Georgian Military Road. According to the state security and crisis management council, several people have been trapped in the Dariali hydropower plant’s derivation tunnel, where construction works were underway when the landslide hit.

First and foremost, we offer our condolences to the family of the victims and express hope that the missing people will be rescued safely soon. Unfortunately in recent days, media outlets have been disseminating inaccurate statements by government members that suggest environmental groups link the landslide from the Devdoraki glacier with the construction of hydropower plants in the Dariali gorge. By such statements these officials are attempting to cover a number of irresponsible and possibly corrupt decisions made during the approval and implementation of these very same projects. Our organisation has repeatedly pointed to the problems caused by these types of projects, because of the incomplete environmental impact assessment and the illegally-issued permits.