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Apocalyptic Scenes in Georgia : DailyMail

These were the apocalyptic scenes in Tblisi today where lions, bears, wolves and a hippo were among dozens of animals on the loose following heavy flooding – which church leaders say is a punishment from God for melting down the monastery’s bells.

A hippo who escaped from a zoo in the Georgian capital Tbilisi after flash flood destroyed the animal's enclosures allowing them to roam the streets 

The capital of Georgia has been placed on lock-down after the flooding destroyed enclosures at the city’s zoo – allowing a host of dangerous and scared animals to escape and roam the streets.

As well as the hippo, tigers, lions, bears and wolves has escaped for their pens, forcing the city to be placed on lockdown by authorities 

The escaped hippo was eventually cornered in the main square of Tbilisi and was subdued by being shot with a tranquiliser gun

Residents in Tbilisi have been warned to stay indoors after more than 30 of the zoo’s residents broke out during heavy rain and wind. The flash floods have already killed up to 12 people including three workers who were employed at Tbilisi Zoo.

The zoo said one of the dead was Guliko Chitadze, a zookeeper who lost an arm in an attack by a tiger last month. The husband of zookeeper Ms Chitadze also died in the flooding.

Before being cornered, pictures showed the large hippo wandering along a main street among stranded cars on a dual carriageway 

Some of the animals have been captured but others are thought to be still on the loose. Local people push along a hippo who escaped from the city zoo 

Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said: ‘Search for animals continues, but a large part of the zoo is simply non-existent. It was turned into a hellish whirlpool.

‘Some 20 wolves, eight lions, white tigers, tigers, jackals, jaguars have either been shot dead by special forces or are missing. Only three out of our 17 penguins were saved.’

Pictures from the Georgian capital have shown a large hippo wandering along a main street among stranded cars and in the city’s main square.

The zoo’s press service said that the hippo was eventually cornered in the main square before it was subdued with a tranquiliser gun.

Helicopters are now circling the city, which is home to around 1.1million people in a bid to track down all of the animals.

Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi last night, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. The flooding also damaged dozens of houses.

City mayor David Narmania told journalists that eight people were known to have died and 10 others were missing.

It is estimated that the floods have caused £6.5million worth of damage.

Vice mayor of Tbilisi Irakly Lekvinadze added: ‘Dozens of families remain homeless as their houses were destroyed or damaged in the capital.’

A runaway bear sits on an air conditioning unit of a second floor building above the flooded street below as rescuers in a boat look on 

A bear tries to escape from the rising and rapid flood waters by clambering on top of debris after it broke free from Tbilisi Zoo when the animals' pens were destroyed by the water 

A man tries to save a bird, which had to be rescued from a flooded area of Tbilisi Zoo, which also saw three zookeepers killed 

A rescue worker tends to the body of a lion near to a flooded area of the zoo in Tbilisi after a deluge of heavy rain and wind overnight 

The body of a dead animal lies in the grass outside a flooded zoo in Tbilisi. Heavy flooding destroyed many of the enclosures inside the zoo 

Armed police stand on patrol in a flooded street in Tbilisi, where six tigers, six lions and eight bears broke free from their enclosures 

Heavy rains and wind have battered Tbilisi, and the flash floods have already killed up to 12 people in the Georgian capital, including three zoo workers 

acob Janjulia, a 21-year-old student who was among the residents volunteering to help rescuers, said parts of Tbilisi were ‘ravaged’.

He said: ‘It’s the duty of all citizens to help rescuers, to help the affected people.

Another Tbilisi resident, 46-year-old dentist Anna Korinteli, wept as she surveyed the scene.

‘Such a terrible tragedy, people died, many lost their homes. I can’t stop crying,’ she said.

Local people and rescuers wade through the flood waters in the Georgian capital after heavy rainfall and wind turned the Vere River into a torrent sweeping away buildings and car 

Rescuers work to evacuate a woman and two children from the dangerous flood waters. Up to 10 people have been killed and another 10 are missing