From disaster to development: 30 years passed since Spitak earthquake
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 7, ARMENPRESS. The Spitak earthquake shattered the peace of Armenia 30 years ago. A 10 magnitude near the epicenter devastating earthquake took place in 40% of the territory of Armenia at 11:41 (local time), December 7, 1988. Spitak, Leninakan, Kirovakan, Stepanavan towns, over hundreds of villages and settlements of Spitak, Akhuryan, Gugark, Aragats, Kalinino, Stepanavan were fully or partially demolished during a few seconds.
More than 25 thousand people died, 514.000 people remained homeless. 17 of the housing resources broke down (over 8 million square meters of living area). 230 industrial objects with 82 thousand workplaces were ruined due to the quake. The economic damage of Armenia amounted to 13 billion RUB.
The commission headed by Nikolai Ryzhkov, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, arrived in Armenia on the next day of the earthquake. They performed a great job with care and many efforts to assist the people and eliminate the consequences of the tragedy. The Armenian people received the aid with gratitude, awarding Ryzhkov with decoration of the National Hero of Armenia on December 6, 2008. More than 113 countries and 7 international organizations aided Armenia.
Hundreds of rescuers and doctors arrived in the Republic of Armenia. All the republics of the USSR started to transport medication, medical equipment, construction equipment, tents, food etc. to Armenia.
The Armenians of the Diaspora united from the first hours of the earthquake to provide assistance to their compatriots, creating many organizations for that aim. Many of them; doctors, psychologists, constructors, architects stayed in Armenia to personally participate in rescue and restoration works.
Various states continued providing assistance to Armenia in the coming years as well. The Italians and Austrians built one residential district in Spitak, the Norwegians constructed a modern hospital, and the British built a school and etc.
The housing issue for 66.440 families has been solved within the frames of various programs. Tanya Arzumanyan, a representative of the Urban Development Committee, said the state program continues.
“20 years after the earthquake the state has set a deadline for becoming a beneficiary of the housing program during which nearly 7000 families were registered. After examination of documents nearly 5400 families were declared beneficiaries. During 2008-2017 the housing issue of 4839 families was solved with nearly 65 billion AMD, but 542 families still wait for the solution of their housing issue. They live in rural settlements of Lori, Shirak and Aragatsotn provinces”, she said.
According to the 2018 state budget of Armenia, 460 million AMD is envisaged for the state program aimed at solving the housing problems of those affected by the earthquake.
Tanya Arzumanyan informed that 560 million AMD will be provided according to the 2019 budget. It is expected the housing program will be completed in 2020.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan