Society 11:58 07/12/2023 Armenia

Armenia marks 35th anniversary of tragic earthquake

Armenia marks the 34th anniversary of a catastrophic earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

The 6.8 magnitude quake struck northern Armenia early on December 7, 1988. Its epicenter was near Spitak, a town of 25,000 inhabitants, which was razed to the ground. Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri (Leninakan), the towns of Stepanavan and Kirovakan were also hit hard.

According to official data, the quake killed more than 25,000 people, leaving some 20,000 others wounded and 514,000 homeless, while the value of material losses was estimated at $10 billion.

The devastating earthquake destroyed 17% of the housing of the republic, 170 industrial enterprises quitted their activity. Major damage was caused to architectural, historical and cultural monuments as well as to 917 educational institutions.

Thanks to the efforts of ordinary citizens and rescuers, about 45,000 alive and dead people were recovered from the ruins and 12,500 were hospitalized.

Expert conclusions later revealed that the main reason for such extensive damage was that the seismic risks all across the country had been underestimated. The special government-assigned commission to look into the earthquake aftermath identified that seismic resistance norms for construction had been violated, as was its quality and technology, construction materials failed to meet state standards.

Most human casualties were the result of poor construction, delay of the rescue efforts, lack of knowledge and skills necessary to implement disaster risk reduction activities and awareness of the population during emergency situations.

Shirak Center NGO Chairman Vahan Tumasyan has shared on social media exclusive photos of high-rises in Gyumri destroyed in the wake of the earthquake.



Source Panorama.am
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