By Irakli Metreveli
Tbilisi (AFP) - Lions, tigers and even a hippopotamus escaped from a zoo in the Georgian capital Tbilisi Sunday, adding to chaos caused by severe flooding that killed at least 12 people, officials said.
Police and soldiers were hunting down the animals, recapturing some and shooting others dead, while rescuers airlifted scores of people trapped by the floods.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili warned Tbilisi residents to stay indoors while the zoo animals were still on the loose,
He described the damage to the city's infrastructure as "substantial" after the River Vere burst its banks following hours of torrential rain.
"Our latest estimate is that the death toll is 12," Tbilisi Mayor David Narmania told journalists.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani told AFP that 24 people were still missing by Sunday evening.Read more.