10 Dead, Zoo Animals Loose As Flooding Hits Tbilisi

June 14, 2015

At least 10 people are dead in flooding that has surged through Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, and residents are being warned to stay indoors to avoid zoo animals set free by the rising water. Tigers, lions, bears, wolves and a hippo escaped their enclosures.

The Associated Press says an escaped hippo was cornered in one of the city’s main squares and subdued with a tranquilizer gun, but the news agency said it was unclear how many animals were loose.

The AP says:

“There were no immediate reports that any of the fatalities were due to animal attacks. The zoo said one of the dead was Guliko Chitadze, a zookeeper who lost an arm in an attack by a tiger last month.”

“Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi during the night, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. The flooding also damaged dozens of houses.”

The BBC reports:

“A hippopotamus was cornered in one of the city’s main squares and subdued with a tranquiliser gun.

“Rescue workers are searching submerged homes to check for trapped residents.

“Dozens of people have been left homeless after their houses were damaged or destroyed.”

According to Al-Jazeera:

“Three zoo workers were reported dead and the AFP news agency reported that at least eight people had died in the floods.

“The zoo said one of the dead was Guliko Chitadze, a zookeeper who lost an arm in an attack by a tiger last month.

“Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi during the night, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. The flooding also damaged dozens of houses.”

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