One evening like many in Tbilisi. One evening in June, sitting at a table in one of the many pubs on Erekle II St. Chatting, drinking, all normal. It starts to rain, strange how in June it rains so frequently in Tbilisi even weather is so warm. We move within the room and not let the rain ruin the rest of the evening. Unaware of what will happen in a matter of hours. In fact as we were returning I notice a strange confusion around, different from the usual confusion. The road that I usually take is barred by police. It seems that the Heroes Square is flooded. What’s wrong?

It’s been raining at least two hours and you know when it rains there is always some confusion. I was hijacked to the other side of the river, I realize that the containment balustrade is gone and a car floats on the river !!! The thing is serious, it is not normal. Facebook was piled with images, it was still utterly confusing, I couldn’t not get an idea until I arrived home,turn on the TV and found out the horror. As you know Tbilisi is crossed by a large river Mtkvari, which receives another river, smaller in size- the Vera.

The Vera crosses the city through underground for most. It’s shore is not very large and because of the rain it was swollen. Near Svanidze Str. the ridge of a hill had collapsed completely blocking the passage of Vera. Within a short time the river burst its banks submerging completely everything that was around. Houses, the famous meat processing company “Vake” and the municipal dog shelter were taken away with the first souls.

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But it was not enough to appease the fury of nature by breaking down the levees it was directed relentlessly toward the center, exactly to the zoo and adjacent areas. Still victims. Splendid examples of white tigers, lions, bears, cheetahs lost forever in the mud. Many animals disappeared including wild felines before being killed were slaughtered people. A hippopotamus wandering the streets of Heroes Square, maybe it was the only one to be in its natural habitat in a river in flood. Quenched the fury of the river counting the first victims and damages. Too much. It looked like a horror story but it really happened the night of June 13, 2015.

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The next day I went on the places affected by the flood, I took photos that could not express the feeling I had in those minutes, I felt useless. I was in the exact center of the river which was now reduced to a stream. Levels on the walls of the houses came to three meters from ground. Three meters of mud which drugged cars and tree trunks as if they were twigs. Many abandoned cars on the road with more bags, personal items inside. Macabre snapshots of what happened. Into those cockpits was still present fear, it was felt. In the following days thousands of volunteers have helped in rehabilitating the city. Thousands of arms and breathes with a single purpose, erase that bad memory and give back Tbilisi it’s dignity.

I have seen the real face of Georgia, I saw that the unity really is a strength.

Great people who did not give up and went on in spite of everything.

This is Georgia.

Salvatore Costa