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Deluge to wash down Sakartvelo’s budget2011-06-22 21:15
Georgia is facing a series of natural disasters with president Mikheil Saakashvili reiterating importance to provide security in "problem" zones and the government feverishly seeking money to mitigate consequences of the cataclysms. Meanwhile the Georgian army starts drills entitled "Effective Catastrophe Response" together with US colleagues. Will all that be enough to prevent new calamities?
According to recent information, showers have caused a flood in Hobi municipality taking residential buildings, farmlands under water, eroding traffic routes and destroying cropland. In addition to that, electric power transmission facilities have been damaged, as Vakhtang Tskhadaya, deputy governor of Samagrelo-Zemo Svaneti, reports. The damage in Hobi and four adjacent villages is estimated at GEL 400 thousand.
The situation in Tsalendzhikhi district is not much better: local landslides engulfed a number of villages there. The Ingur river overflows ruining agricultural lands. Chkvaleri-Pakhulani road is under the water.
In this situation the government continues to keep back the money required to deal with the consequences of the natural disaster - either not realizing the seriousness of the situation or simply out of greed. Minister of regional development and infrastructure Ramaz Nikolaishvili unambiguously states that GEL 10 mln provided to overcome consequences will be supplemented by another GEL 4 mln. "But GEL 14 mln is the maximum to be spent", - he remarks adding that "implementation of all other projects" was suspended in order to raise these funds. What projects is the minister speaking of? What can be more important than helping citizens of the regions?
Georgia annually receives fabulous amounts on construction of democracy from international creditors but who has seen this money expect for president Mikheil Saakashvili? Even now, when the opposition demands introduction of a new article in the country's budget necessary to fight consequences of natural disasters, the state continues to offer excuses. According to Zurab Melikishvili, chairman of financial committee of Georgia, Sakartvelo will need GEL 30 mln for these purposes. "There is no insurance against such phenomena", - he says. - But presently the country's budget is GEL 7 bn 350 mln. When you tell to increase expenses, you must consider that this money will be taken out of pensions and social programs".