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Five killed after flooding hits Georgian capital

At least five people have been killed in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi after torrential rains caused a local river to burst its banks on Saturday night.

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A man rows a dinghy in the flooded street of Tbilisi's district Ortachala after heavy overnight rain on May 13, 2012 (VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

At least five people have been killed and dozens injured in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi after torrential rains caused a local river to burst its banks, flooding parts of the city center.

The Agency for Emergency Situations said that a mother, her two young children, an elderly woman and an elderly man died after the Kura River flooded Saturday night, trapping them in their homes in Tbilisi’s Ortachala neighborhood and causing the buildings to collapse, the Associated Press reports.

At least 30 people sought medical help. According to eyewitnesses, the flood water rose to three meters in some areas, lifting parked cars, submerging roads and bridges, cutting power supplies and damaging numerous houses. There have also been landslides in surrounding areas, with reports of farm animals being swept away, according to the BBC.

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Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, visited the area on Sunday, saying: "We have to do everything to make sure that no one lives in such conditions, especially in the risk zone," while Tbilisi’s mayor, Gigi Ugulava, pledged to provide all flood victims with financial assistance, according to Al Jazeera.

A state of emergency has been declared, and Georgia’s military is assisting in the rescue effort. Rainy weather is forecast for the next three days.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120513/five-killed-after-flooding-hits-georgian-capital