CARE International in the Caucasus and World Vision Georgia conducted a joint rapid assessment of 11 communities in the Akhmeta, Telavi and Gurjaani municipalities of Kakheti on July 20th. The heavy rains, strong winds, hail and flooding that occurred overnight across Georgia in the early hours of Thursday, July 19th wrecked havoc on housing and crop lands. CARE and World Vision estimate the dramatic effects of the event to be the largest disaster in Georgia since the August 2008 conflict. The government of Georgia expects the total cost of the damages at 150 million GEL, with 20,000 households affected and 22,000 hectares of arable land damaged in Kakheti alone. CARE and World Vision traveled to the disaster-affected areas in Kakheti to conduct interviews directly with local authorities and community members. The aim was to conduct this review as a supplement to governmental assessment. It should be noted the Lagodekhi municipality was not covered in the research. A similar report will cover rapid assessment of the disaster affected areas of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region.
The government of Georgia is active in the areas visited and focusing on road clean-up, infrastructure rehabilitation, and tree removal. Further, the government has started to provide fertilizer and pesticides to aide the preservation of damaged plants and as well as executing a compensation scheme for lost agricultural outputs.
Compensation is a good measure as it will meet the current cash needs of affected households, but it does not factor in the catastrophic financial setback of losing multiple harvests due to damage to grapevines and orchard trees. CARE and World Vision find this response can be further tailored to specific cases across the region based on need and in consideration of the longer-term impact of the disaster on vulnerable households. Our recommendations follow:
- Utilize the remainder of the growing season to ensure the best use of damaged crop land in order to mitigate the potential serious gap in supply of food
o Distribute seeds. Crops which allow for full development before the cold period and would be met by demand should be planted as soon as possible.
Radish, greens, onions and cabbage could be considered once a rapid market analysis is conducted
o Provide extension services and other forms of technical support to ensure participating households are able to grow the short-season agricultural outputs. o Construct basic green houses. Basic green houses will extend the growing season for several additional months allowing for a broadening of potential crops to be planted in place of farmer’s destroyed outputs.
Address winter animal feeding needs o Distribute animal feed for winter feeding. o Provide seeds for turnip cultivation. Turnips can be grown in time for winter feeding. o Provide seed for special maize that can be grown for silage.
Non-food items should be distributed to affected internal displaced persons and affected households who qualify for social assistance
A re-supplying of schools and kindergartens should be conducted to replace destroyed equipment, furniture and learning materials
The benefits of crop insurance should be promoted. After disasters is the best time to educate agricultural producers on the utility of crop insurance
The capacity building of local actors in disaster risk reduction should be conducted.