The risks of natural disasters could double in spring of 2018. Specialists predict an alarming situation and state that immediate measures are to be taken in order to avoid the anticipated disasters. In 2010, village Daba barely survived a devastating disaster. National Environmental Agency called for implementation of urgent preventive measures yet eight years ago. The repeated fire aggravated the already severe situation in the valley even more.
On 23 September, 2017, within Global Forest Watch project, CENN conducted a field visit to Borjomi Valley.Within the field visit, an expert group evaluated the outcomes of a six-day fire that took place in Borjomi Forest, soil condition and the geodynamic processes taking place in the disaster zone. Some initial reports were prepared and recommendations were given based on visual assessment.The aforementioned project is implemented by World Resources Institute (WRI) with the support of UNEP/GEF.
According to the findings of experts’ group, the situation in Borjomi Valley is severe and requires special attention. As a result, of the repeated fire, disaster risk factors have particularly increased. The forest fire that took place in the period of August 20-26 spread on the area of 753 hectares where 525 hectares was burnt for the second time, with the fire totally destroying the trees that had survived the precious fire,which took place in 2008.
The situation that has formed in the actual disaster zone – Naghvarevi River Valley is particularly difficult. Expert evaluations show that the expected dangerous geological processes pose a threat to population of village Daba and requires immediate response.
The village is in the wake of another disaster. Local residents are concerned and state that the river can inflict serious damage on the village. The five-member Meskhidze family live in the hottest spot of the disaster across the Naghvarevi River. According to the head of the family, Sergo Meskhidze, during the rain, the Naghvarevi River, also known as Dabistskali, overflows, leaving the only road connecting the household with the rest of the village blocked rendering the family without any road and drinking water. According to Ilona Diasamidze, following the fire in 2008, the flooded river has overflown its banks and flooded the land plots of the locals many times.
After the fire of 2008, the findings were prepared by National Environmental Agency stating that village Daba already survived the devastating disaster in 2010. Moreover, the findings repeatedly emphasize that the current situation in the Naghvarevi River Valley is particularly severe and urgently requires immediate action to protect local population from the anticipated disaster.
Spring period is especially dangerous for village Daba. Expert assessment states that landslide processes have already started on some of the slopes. Due to abundant rainfall in spring, waste accumulated in the valley, burnt trees, rocks and slumped soil could turn into a mudflow mass and inflict serious damage on the village. The situation is also aggravated by the fact that the fire-stricken slopes have already turned into pastures and local population grazes livestock on the grass that has sprouted here and there after the fire.
According to the Forestry Agency, in total, an area of 943 hectares was burnt in Borjomi Valley due to fires in August and September. 706 hectares of the above area has already been burnt once as a result of fire in 2008.
Experts’ recommendation is to conduct anti-erosion measures, restore soil and plant forest cover on the fire-stricken area. As for the Naghvarevi River Valley, it is essential to clear the river bed and conduct relevant preventive measures for the mudflow mass accumulated in the valley from preventing threats to the lives of local residents.
See the slideshow demonstrating how the fire-stricken Borjomi Valley looks like now🔻
Within GFW, CENN is implementing a project, New Forest Technologies for Sustainable Forest Governance, aimed at supporting current forest reform by introduction of new technologies of information and communication tools.