Wild animals still on loose after deadly Georgia floods

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TBILISI: Up to 20 people are still missing after devastating floods killed at least a dozen people in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, with escaped zoo animals still on the loose Monday.

The government of the ex-Soviet republic said the death toll after the Vere river burst its banks on Sunday following hours of torrential rain stood at 12 on Monday morning.

Twenty people were missing as of Monday morning, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s spokesperson, Manana Tokmajishvili, told AFP, with the death toll expected to rise following Georgia’s worst flood in decades.

The torrents ravaged a zoo in the Georgian capital, with many animals including penguins drowning in the muddy waters.

Other animals such as lions, tigers and even a hippopotamus escaped and were either recaptured or shot dead by police.

The hunt was still going on for the animals Monday, Tbilisi zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze told journalists.

“The search for animals is still underway,” she said, adding that some 300 animals had died.

The disaster left dozens of families without homes, wiped out several roads in central Tbilisi and seriously disrupted traffic.

Some homes were swept away along with cars by the torrents, with the floods even washing coffins out of the ground in the city cemetery.

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