Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Tuesday responded to allegations on delayed engagement of helicopters in the rescue operation following the landslide in Shovi resort in western Georgia on Thursday, claiming two helicopters arrived at the site “not three hours late, but in three hours” after receiving the notification.
Papuashvili claimed the flight from Tbilisi to Shovi in Oni municipality took one hour, while the personnel also needed time to ensure “necessary checks and equipment”, with the opposition calling the explanations “absurd and unfounded”.
He also responded to allegations on the absence of early warning systems, saying “as far as he knew” there was “no need” of such systems in the locality, amid the claims of locals about frequent disasters in the resort over the years and “ineffective response” by local authorities.
The landslide has killed 19, with more than 15 still missing.
Upon their arrival in the disaster zone day late on Thursday, the helicopters were unable to work during night hours due to the absence of necessary lights, and the rescue operation was stopped the whole night, sparking criticism in the public.