Georgia earthquake today

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When it struck shortly after 4 a.m. On Saturday, it was the worst earthquake to hit Georgia in years. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 3.9 magnitude earthquake had its epicenter east of Stillmore, a village halfway between Macon and Savannah. However, individuals in several parts of Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta and Columbia, South Carolina, have reported shaking.

No serious injuries or damage were recorded. It often takes an earthquake with a magnitude of 5 or higher to cause harm. On the scale, every 1 point higher corresponds to an earthquake that is 32 times more powerful.


Only two earthquakes of greater magnitudes have occurred in the area recently.  A 4.4 magnitude quake was centered in Decatur, Tennessee, in December 2018.  And a 4.1 magnitude quake that was located near South Carolina’s Edgefield in February 2014.

There are hardly any earthquakes in the majority of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. A quake in Charleston, South Carolina in 1886 killed 60 people and caused damage to around 2,000 buildings. Its magnitude has been estimating to be between 6.9 and 7.3. Since December 27, there have been 31 earthquakes and aftershocks in the area of South Carolina near Columbia.

Disaster Risk

This Disaster Risk Financing Country Note for Georgia offers a summary of the administration’s current strategy for paying for the damages brought on by natural catastrophes. It seems to look at the pertinent institutional and legislative frameworks, as well as the government’s present catastrophe risk financing options.

Georgia is situated in the South Caucasus, roughly where Asia and Europe part ways. Black Sea to the west and the Caucasus Mountains to the north border it (map 1). Its area is mostly mountainous, about 80%. Georgia had 3.7 million residents as of 2015, with metropolitan regions housing 53% of the residents. It is an upper-middle-income country with a GDP of US$13.965 billion1 and a GDP per capita of US$2. USD 3,796.2 per person.

Following structural changes that encouraged capital inflow and investment between 2006 and 2014, Georgia’s GDP grew rapidly, on average by about 5% annually. This impressive achievement was set despite 2009 seeing a global financial crisis that halt growth.

External Environment

A weaker external environment in 2015 caused the economy to grow by an estimated 2.5 percent. Although the economy has been doing well, a sizable portion of the population still lives in poverty. Even though poverty rates have significantly decreased from their peak in 2010, Georgia still has one of the highest rates in Europe and Central Asia.

Georgia’s poverty rate decrease from 46.7 percent in 2010 to 32.3 percent in 2014.  As determine by the US$2.5/day poverty threshold; increases in social assistance mostly brought on the decrease. And higher incomes for those who were already working.

Jobless Rate

In 2014, the jobless rate decreased to 12.4%, however, it remained high for urban and young people at 22 and respective 31 percent. Women with children who are the heads of rural homes are particularly at risk of poverty.

The Georgian economy is mark by a high degree of dollarization and notable swings in Georgia Lari, the country’s official currency (GEL). The current account deficit has increased to 11% of GDP due to a downturn in external performance, and the GEL has lost 30% of its value since December 2014.

Government Debt

Georgia’s governmental debt, which increased from 32.2 percent of GDP in 2013 to 33.3 percent of GDP in 2014, is still at low levels. About 80% of the government debt in 2014 was external, with long-term multilateral debt accounting for the majority (70%) as well as some bilateral debt (20 percent). Due to the public debt’s extremely lenient terms, interest Payments represent about 1% of GDP annually on average. The fixed interest rate structure of around 75% of the external public debt lowers interest rate risk. 2015 saw the continuation of domestic financing of Georgia’s deficit, which eases strains on the exchange market.

The state of Georgia is particularly vulnerable to a number of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, mudflows, landslides, avalanches, and droughts. The nation is located in one of the Alpine-Himalayan collision belt’s most seismically active areas, and in the past, earthquakes have seriously damaged the nation.

For instance, the earthquakes that occurred in 1991 Racha-Imereti and 1992 Pasanauri-Barisakho caused about 20,000 landslides and rockfalls, which affected about 1,500 settlements, resulted in 100 fatalities, destroyed about 332,000 hectares of arable land, and completely buried two villages (Khaiseti in Sachkere district and Chordi in Oni district).

Georgia Floods

Georgia experiences frequent floods, landslides, and avalanches, mainly in hilly areas and along major rivers. Recorded high water levels occur throughout the spring and summer months when Snow has begun to melt. Nearly all of the nation’s rivers are susceptible to unexpected water levels rising. Imereti, Samegrelo, Guria, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, and the rivers of the Mtkvari basin are the rivers most at risk of flooding (including Alazani). 8

Up until 1995, there were three to five floods per year on average; since then, there have been between two and twenty.

Including more than 100 populated places, more than 50% of the country’s land is vulnerable to avalanches. The rivers in the foothills of the Caucasus experience high levels of precipitation, which significantly affects river hydrology. In mountainous areas, landslides are particularly severe and constitute the primary driver of economic migration.

Over the years 1968 to 2009, almost 70% of Geological and hydrometeorological risks occurred throughout the nation, affecting 65% of the population. 10 Georgia’s agricultural industry suffers particularly significant losses from hail and drought, which are more frequent and last longer in the eastern half of the nation. The six-month-long record-breaking drought occurred in 2000. 11

Impacts of natural disasters

Natural disasters cause huge economic losses in Georgia. 70 percent of the nation has faced disasters due to hydrometeorological and geological dangers over the past 40 years. 12 It was determine that GEL 2.7 billion worth of losses were sustaine between 1995 and 2013. As a result of landslides, floods, drought, storms, avalanches, and hail.

13 Road infrastructure, agricultural facilities, and irrigation systems have all been destroy by landslides, debris flows, and mudslides. Nearly 700,000 people were affect by the severe drought in 2000. Which also cause hydropower plants to produce less electricity and had a negative impact on agriculture, lowering GDP by 5.6 percent. 14

There are few records of past losses and damage brought on by natural catastrophes in Georgia. Disaster losses from 1991 to 2015 are list in Table 1 according to the international EMDAT database.

Cities Affected in Flash Flood

The Vake and Saburtalo neighborhoods of Tbilisi, as well as other areas along the right bank of the Mtkvari (Kura) River and various locations outside the city, were all affected by a flash flood that occurred on the night of June 13–14, 2015, following 10 days of continuous and heavy rainfall over the southeast portion of the Vere River drainage basin. In just two hours, the Vere River drainage basin received almost 100 mm of rain, which resulted in a flood with a peak flow of 468 m3/s.

Additionally, a sizable landslide of about 1 million cubic meters (m3) occurred close to the town of Akhaldaba (about 10 kilometers west of Tbilisi), spewing trees, boulders, soil, and other debris. Down a slope into the Vere River, which was already overflowing, turning it into a huge torrent of mud and debris.

Tbilisi affected

Tbilisi suffered terrible socioeconomic effects as a result of this catastrophe. Twenty-one people lost their lives, 67 families had to find new homes.  And almost 700 people were directly impact. Almost the whole urban population of Tbilisi was indirectly impact by the disaster due to the physical and psychological toll it had on daily life.

Around 40 roads, 67 people’s homes, as well as a number of pieces of civic infrastructure, were all damaged by the floodwaters. Much of Tbilisi’s zoo was destroyed, along with communications systems (killing most of its animals).

The flood caused GEL 55 million ($24.3 million) in physical damage and GEL 10 million ($4.37 million) in financial losses, with US$118 million needed for recovery, according to the UNDP and World Bank’s 2015 post-disaster needs assessment (see table 2). Due to the fact that recovery was intend to “build back better” and the pre-disaster quality of the infrastructure.  Recovery demands were greater than damage estimates.

Regulatory Framework

Georgia’s catastrophe risk management and finance are govern by a number of legal acts:

On June 12, 2014, the Georgia Law on Civil Safety became effective.

16 It was created to bring Georgia closer to the civil safety systems of the European Union.  And acts as a general regulation governing Georgia’s catastrophe management sector. The law specifies guidelines for emergency preparedness, preparation, response, and restoration efforts.  As well as measures for the safety of the inhabitants and the territory. It also describes the roles played by different ministries and organizations in managing and lowering the risk of disaster. 17

The general legislative framework for finance, including financing for disaster risk. It is establish under Georgia’s Budget Code.  The annual budget allocations for various budget users and their annual programs are specified in Georgia’s State Budget Annual Laws. Georgia’s Organic Law on Municipal Self-Government covers local property rights and financial matters. Including funds for mitigating the effects of natural disasters.

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