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Tbilisi Flash Flood Kills At Least 13, Devastates City's Zoo

Georgian authorities say heavy rainfall and flash floods overnight left at least 13 people dead and some 24 others missing in the capital, Tbilisi. Heavy rains started late evening on June 13, turning the Vere River flowing through Tbilisi into a torrent that swept away dozens of building and cars, and damaged power lines. The city's zoo was also flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding. Some of the animals have been captured, but it remained unclear how many are on the loose. Authorities asked the city residents to stay indoors while the animals are rounded up. President Giorgi Margvelashvili offered his condolences to the families of the flood victims and promised that the process of rebuilding would quickly begin. Vice mayor of Tbilisi Irakly Lekvinadze said a preliminary estimate put damages at $18 million.

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Rescuers try to figure out what to do with a runaway bear that found itself perched precariously on the ledge of a flooded building on a Tbilisi street. Police have shot dead several animals over safety concerns, with six wolves killed at a children's hospital, according to broadcaster Rustavi 2.
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Rescuers try to figure out what to do with a runaway bear that found itself perched precariously on the ledge of a flooded building on a Tbilisi street. Police have shot dead several animals over safety concerns, with six wolves killed at a children's hospital, according to broadcaster Rustavi 2.

A man shoots a tranquilizer dart to put a hippopotamus to sleep at a flooded street in Tbilisi. Animals from the city's zoo, including tigers, lions, bears, and wolves escaped from cages damaged by the rainfall. Some were captured or killed while the search for others goes on. (Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)(Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)
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A man shoots a tranquilizer dart to put a hippopotamus to sleep at a flooded street in Tbilisi. Animals from the city's zoo, including tigers, lions, bears, and wolves escaped from cages damaged by the rainfall. Some were captured or killed while the search for others goes on. (Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)(Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)

A man directs the hippo after it was shot with a tranquilizer dart. Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)
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A man directs the hippo after it was shot with a tranquilizer dart. Reuters/Beso Gulashvili)

The city's zoo was flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Other animals died in the high water. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding.
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The city's zoo was flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Other animals died in the high water. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding.

The city's zoo was flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Other animals died in the high water. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding.
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The city's zoo was flooded, allowing tigers, lions, wolves, and other animals to escape. Other animals died in the high water. Three zoo workers were killed in the flooding.

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A handout picture provided by the Georgian prime minister's press office shows armed policemen patrolling a flooded street in Tbilisi.
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A handout picture provided by the Georgian prime minister's press office shows armed policemen patrolling a flooded street in Tbilisi.

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