Monday, August 18, 2008

Statement of The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia

To all Foreign Diplomatic Representations in Georgia




To KfW

To PAN Parks Organization

To the World Bank

To the GEF

To IUCN International

To WWF International



The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia urgently tries to attract the attention of all relevant international organizations to the dramatic situation created in Georgia with regard to the forest burning in several regions of the country as a result of Russian bombing, particularly in Borjomi region, where unique forests are burning creating danger also to Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park which is situated in immediate proximity to these forests.

On August 15, after the attack of Russian military forces' helicopters, fire started in the Borjomi region forests affecting some part of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Since Saturday (August 16) we have been trying to put out the fire in Borjomi region forests, but almost 200 ha of unique forest is already burnt. The aim was to create an ecological catastrophe in the country.

All local recourses: fire brigades, Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park stuff, Environment Inspectorate and local communities are involved in putting out the fire. The situation is quite dramatic since fire has caused great losses in biodiversity.

Since the morning of the eighteenth of August fire fighting aircraft from Turkey are already assisting to put out the fire. While the Ukraine and Azerbaijan, both are ready to do the same. Fire engines and fire brigades from Tbilisi are ready to enter the region, but highway from the capital of Georgia to Gori-Borjomi direction is under the Russian military forces control.

To avoid ecological catastrophe in the region we are calling all interested organizations' attention to react to the situation in Borjomi region.

The Ministry is asking for your help to convince Russian to open air and terrestrial corridor, which would let fire fighting aircraft, fire engines and fire brigades enter the Borjomi District and make possible putting out the fire there.