Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Four Georgian municipalities will benefit from a flood protection initiative that UNDP is implementing in close partnership with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure.

On 30 September, UNDP Head Nick Beresford and Chairperson of the Ministry’s Roads Department Giorgi Tsereteli signed a US$4.5 million agreement to implement flood protection measures in the Abasha, Kobuleti, Lagodekhi and Senaki municipalities for the Tskhenistkali, Achkva, Lagodekhiskhevi and Tsivi rivers.

By cleaning riverbeds, reinforcing riverbanks, constructing flood barriers and building other crucial infrastructure, UNDP and the Roads Department will provide direct protection to 24,000 people.

Similar measures will ultimately expand to six more municipalities that also face a particularly high risk of flooding (Akhmeta, Gori, Khobi, Samtredia, Sighnaghi and Telavi).

“To break cycles of climate-induced disasters, we must protect people’s lives and property from the most severe consequences of climate change and work together to find greener and more sustainable development solutions,” Beresford said.

“Over 60 percent of Georgia’s population lives in disaster-risk regions. Their safety is one of the government’s top priorities,” Tsereteli said. “We are establishing a modern protection system to prevent extreme weather events from turning into devastating disasters.”

Floods and other climate-induced disasters have cost Georgia more than $1.2 billion in economic losses over the past two decades. Extreme flood events alone have cost the country around $190 million per year. Total economic losses could increase to $1.2 billion per year over the next decade if the country does not replace its reactive approach (compensation and reconstruction after each successive disaster) with preventative measures.

As part of a  $74 million nationwide effort funded by the Green Climate Fund and the governments of Georgia, Sweden and Switzerland, UNDP is assisting Georgia to develop a national system of climate adaptation and disaster prevention measures. The seven-year programme will reduce the risk of climate-induced disasters in 11 Georgian river basins and cut economic losses by up to 90 percent.

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Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP
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Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP
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