Soviet Armenia had three major quakes in the first fifty years of existence in … Following an appeal for assistance from … “In the Armenian Republic, thousands of people have died,” Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze said at a news conference on Dec. 8, 1988. Mental health studies have shown that many of the earthquake survivors still live with post-traumatic stress disorder. Meanwhile, Gorbachev's government tried to distract people by shifting the blame for the earthquake's destruction onto former leader Leonid Brezhnev rather than address its own shortcomings. Surface ruptures caused by the main shock were observed up to 13 kilometers from the epicenter, with vertical displacement averaging 1 meter but reaching as much as 1.6 meters in places. According to Radio Free Europe, a story published in January 1989 about six men being found 35 days after the earthquake, surviving on canned pickles and fruits, ended up being too good to be true. And with inadequate local dialysis infrastructure, "with no preconceived regional or international organizations for renal rescue analysis," by the time it was possible to treat people with crush syndrome, the severe cases had already passed away while the mild and moderate ones had already recovered. In 735 A.D., the Vayots Dzor Province was struck by an earthquake with aftershocks that lasted for 40 days. Even decades later, about 500 victims of the earthquake remain living in what was intended to be temporary, makeshift housing. Humanitarian organizations like the American and British Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières also invested their efforts, but according to Voluntary Action History Society, after an "initial media frenzy and relief operation," news about the earthquake's aftermath was soon absent from the headlines. Spitak (Armenian: Սպիտակ), is a town and urban municipal community in the northern Lori Province of Armenia.It is 96 km (60 mi) north of the capital, Yerevan, and 22 km (14 mi) west of the provincial centre, Vanadzor.Spitak was entirely destroyed during the devastating 1988 earthquake, and it was rebuilt in a slightly different location. © 2008-2020. It was followed four minutes later by a magnitude-5.9 aftershock; together these quakes caused extensive damage across a 400-square-kilometer area. On December 11th, Gorbachev visited Leninakan to witness the damage and talk to survivors. By Jolyon Naegele Prague, 17 March 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Nearly ten years ago, on December 7, 1988, a massive earthquake rocked northwestern Armenia, killing some 50,000 inhabitants. In many places, there weren't enough cranes with which to clear the rubble, leaving people to "work with bare hands.". With the collapse of the Soviet Union three years later, reconstruction became even more of an arduous task. Biggest quake: 2.9 quake 18 km south of Karanlukh, Gegharkunik, Armenia, 4 … Since electricity and lights were unavailable during the first night, rescue efforts had to be put on hold during the evening and night until there was light. Throughout the 20th century, there were several earthquakes throughout Armenia, but none caused destruction comparable to the earthquake that struck Spitak in 1988. Many consider the poor living conditions to be responsible for their health problems. After a brief photo-op with President-elect George Bush Sr. and President Ronald Reagan, Gorbachov cut his trip short and flew back to Moscow. However, weather conditions made air evacuations of victims incredibly difficult, as did damage to railways and roads. Rescue efforts continued until December 24th, after which the focus turned towards large scale clearing of the rubble. Although there was a rumor that orphaned children were being given away to non-Armenian families, the rumor was never substantiated and likely came about due to misinformation and miscommunication. Much of the medications that were sent to Armenia were also "past their expiry date and therefore unusable.". It arrived too late for emergency medical treatment." The story was quickly picked up by the international media, but it soon turned out that the story was fabricated by reporter Artyom Shahbazian in an effort to remind the international community of the disaster. And ten years after the earthquake, almost $8 million in post-quake funds remained frozen in a Moscow bank after the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to EVN Report, in Leninakan, 18,000 people were found in the ruins, "out of which 8,000 survived." The complex quake involved two or more ruptures on different fault planes. When someone is trapped under tremendous weight from an earthquake or building collapse for upwards of four hours, they become susceptible to crush syndrome. “Over the last two weeks, the hearts of the American people have gone out to the people of Armenia as they grappled with the earthquake disaster and its aftermath,” said President Reagan in a Dec. 22 speech in the White House. Meanwhile, the first rescue teams didn't arrive until December 10, with chances of survival falling under 50% within six hours after an earthquake. The devastating earthquake, measuring 10 degrees on the MSK scale, took place in 40% of the territory of Armenia at 11:41 (local time), December 7, 1988. Volunteers from international countries left because of a collapsed infrastructure and lack of construction materials. What follows is a passage from his memoirs pertaining to that day. In 1996 the seismic zoning maps were redrawn for the entire country, and in 1994, and again in 2006, the building codes were strengthened. 140,000 people were injured and 500,000 more were left homeless. For more of her work visit http://www.bethanyaugliere.com. Soviet officials had claimed that restoration would be completed within two years. With its epicenter located in the town of Spitak, the northwestern region of Armenia shook for approximately 30 seconds. Water and electrical supplies were also cut off and although some of the electricity was repaired within a week, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, many residences didn't have their electricity restored for months after the earthquake. With the winter temperatures and domik windows made of cheap plastic instead of glass, sometimes people freeze to death during the night. “Despite the fact that all necessary measures are being taken … Mikhail Gorbachev believes that when a people is suffering, he has to be there and he himself has to lead the efforts.” The quake came on the heels of Gorbachev’s historic speech at the United Nations in which he called for an end to the Cold War and said that Soviet Troops would withdraw from Eastern Europe. All the hospitals around Spitak were destroyed, and 80 percent of medical personnel were killed. After the Soviet Union fell, Azerbaijan put a fuel embargo on Armenia in response to the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, blocking a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan. Additionally, the AmeriCares Foundation of New Canaan, Conn., sent a plane with 45 tons of medical supplies. Crush syndrome occurs as a result of toxins being released by crushed muscle tissue. On Dec. 10, three days after the quake, three cargo planes carrying U.S. medical supplies and rescue teams, including dogs trained to sniff out survivors buried in the rubble, left Washington, D.C., and a military base in Italy, headed for the Armenian capital of Yerevan, about 100 kilometers from Spitak. On the morning of Dec. 7, the mainshock hit, strongly shaking the region for 30 seconds. On December 7th 1988 Armenia was hit by a massive earthquake that claimed the lives of 25, 000 people and destroyed several cities. Although some people were rescued as long as 19 days after the earthquake, thousands succumbed to hypothermia in the freezing winter conditions. In one small town, just after the earthquake, a father rushed to his son's school only to find that the school had been flattened. In 1989 an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. It was the strongest recorded earthquake in the Caucasus region in 1,000 years, the most destructive quake in the world since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China, and one of the most lethal of the 20th century. “In the Armenian Republic, thousands of people have died,” Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze said at a news conference on Dec. 8, 1988. And according to "The Earthquake of Spitak, Armenia, and Its Socio-economic Implications," by the next year, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the goal of reconstruction by 1998 was once again postponed since the newly independent Armenia realized that it simply couldn't keep the reconstruction program on track. However, according to Earth Magazine, these quakes didn't receive much attention because few thought that there was a serious seismic risk in the region. He learned of the quake via a telegram from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher describing the situation, conveying sympathy and offering aid. For some, like Ara Tadevossian and his mother, there's a belief that it might have been tragically fortunate not to be rescued in the first few days, simply because everything had been destroyed and it might not have been possible to airlift people to safety earlier. Armenia is a small country about the size of Maryland that borders Turkey to the west, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east and Georgia to the north. mewhat similar to the Modified Mercalli scale, and, After hurricanes, U.S. beach homes are rebuilt bigger, Geoethics in the Field: Leading by Example, Inside the inferno: How large firenadoes form, Wind or water? Since the Spitak earthquake, Armenia has made efforts to study and monitor the country’s seismic activity and improve emergency preparedness. In Armenia, the Arabian plate abuts against the Eurasian (Europe-Asia) plate. Witness speaks to Anahit Karapetian who was trapped for hours under the rubble of her school. And although there are over 400 homeless people on the waiting list for housing, there are over 3,000 people who aren't even on the waiting list. Updated 13 Dec 2020 18:56 GMT - There were 3 quakes of magnitude 2.0+ in or near Armenia during the past 30 days, the largest largest being a 2.9 event. However, as of 2020, thousands of people in the region still live in the temporary shelters provided in the aftermath of the earthquake. On December 11th, a Soviet cargo jet crashed as it reached the Leninakan airport, resulting in the deaths of 78 people. In all, 111 countries, 7 international organizations, and 53 national chapters of the Red Cross provided help to Armenia. The earthquake left deep scars on the land, as well as on the lives of survivors. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, less than 20% of the lost housing had been rebuilt. The destruction happened so fast that people thought the city had been bombed. Hurricane Harvey's most destructive force. Today marks 32nd anniversary since 1988 earthquake in Armenia. While Western media portrayed the Soviet relief operation as inadequate and reflective of the "wider failures of the Soviet system," international relief efforts can be considered to have been equally inadequate due to the non-compatible medical equipment and out-of-date medications supplied. According to the Journal of Emergency and Internal Medicine, nearly 600 people experienced acute kidney failure associated with crush syndrome. But the region had no historic record of seismic events above magnitude 5.7 and thus it had received little attention in seismic hazard studies. Thirty-two years ago, on December 7, 1988, one of the most terrible tragedies in the modern history of Armenia took place. Seismic analysis revealed a complex seismic waveform pattern “significantly more complex than those normally seen for an event of this size,” according to a 1993 study in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. It began when a reverse fault slipped, pushing one crustal block up relative to the adjacent block. The rupture occurred between 5 and 7 kilometers deep within the Pambak-Sevan thrust and fold zone at the base of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. Dozens more aftershocks occurred over the next several months. The 1988 earthquake in Armenia is unique in some ways. According to "The Earthquake of Spitak, Armenia, and Its Socio-economic Implications" by Johanna Schott and Talin Kalatas, the insufficient design of the buildings meant that almost all medical care stations and hospitals suffered severe damage. Abstract The study attempts to identify predictors of injuries among persons who were hospitalized following the Armenian earthquake of 7 December 1988. When muscles get crushed, their cells start to leak and die, and their contents, including potassium and myoglobin, start to build up. Here's what really happened with that huge earthquake in Armenia. Relief didn’t just come from the U.S. India sent a 42-member medical team, France sent 200 rescue workers and doctors, Cuba sent blood donations and Pope John Paul II contributed $100,000. Latest earthquakes in or near Armenia past 30 days. The supplies included three kidney dialysis machines to help victims crushed by collapsing buildings who experienced kidney failure. On 7 December 1988, Armenia was hit by a devastating earthquake. “Despite the fact that all necessary measures are being taken … Mikhail Gorbachev believes that when … The next day, on December 12th, a Yugoslav military plane crashed during its attempt to land, roughly 10 miles from the Yerevan airport. International media reports noted criticism of the Soviet Union for its slow response and lack of preparedness. Augliere is a freelance writer and photographer and a former editorial intern with EARTH. While most electrical substations were repaired within a week, electricity was not restored to many residences for months, according to a 1991 report by engineers for the Electric Power Research Institute. Northern Armenia comprises a mountainous plateau interspersed with populated river valleys and is home to a portion of the Caucasus Mountains, which sit along an active seismic belt spanning from the Alps in southern Europe to the Himalayas in Asia. Two-thirds of the victims were under 18. The United States and the world responded with a rush of humanitarian aid. Several planes would be circling simultaneously, waiting for permission to land. A total of 189 such individuals were identified through neighbourhood polyclinics in the city of Leninakan and 159 noninjured controls were selected from the same neighbourhoods. Since most of the buildings had high seismic vulnerability, the newspaper Pravda attributed the scale of the destruction to the poor quality standards of buildings made during Brezhnev's term, according to EVN Report. In 1988 he was in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, just as the news that an earthquake had leveled Armenia’s Yerevan hit. Compared to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti which created roughly $7.8 billion in damages, the 1988 Spitak earthquake created $16.2 billion in damages. At least 259 aftershocks were recorded from December 22nd to January 1st, 1989. Gorbachev was asleep in a New York hotel when the quake hit. Although there were attempts to direct gas pipelines from Georgia, "seven times from late January to mid-March 1993, Azerbaijani saboteurs blew up gas pipelines in Marneuli." For trapped individuals, death rates were 81.4%. List of earthquakes in Armenia. A woman looks at her destroyed house, on December 11, 1988, in the devastated town of Spitak, after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988. The town of Spitak was demolished; the nearby towns of Kirovakan and Leninakan also experienced heavy destruction, while rumbles were felt in Azerbaijan and Georgia. According to EVN Report, the plane was carrying soldiers and relief supplies, and the cause of the crash wasn't released. She is a graduate of the science communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and holds a master’s degree in marine biology from Florida Atlantic University. And although the Red Cross implemented training for emergency-response techniques and first-aid skills in the region, residents in the region are dismissive of these measures, claiming that compared to another earthquake, "unemployment and poverty are more terrifying.". The city of Dvin was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 893 A.D., with casualties ranging from 30,000 to 70,000. Along with the collapse of the Trans-Caucasus electrical grid, Armenia was left with little-to-no heat and electricity for 1-2 hours a day, plunging Armenia into the "dark and cold years. This disaster produced an unprecedented worldwide response to its traumatic consequences. “Those of you who answered the appeal for help, who have assisted in the relief effort, and those who flew to the Soviet Union and sifted through the rubble, searching for life against all odds, carried with you a message from America. The quake, known as the Spitak earthquake, killed between 25,000 and 60,000 people, injured up to 130,000, and left more than 500,000 homeless. However, 30 years later, thousands remain living in temporary houses or "domik" shanties created from old shipping containers. However, during this period, the skies were dangerously crowded with planes coming in to supply aid. As a result, the region has been plagued by sever earthquakes for thousands of years: an earthquake in 893 A.D. took an estimated 20,000 lives; another in 1667 took 80,000 lives. Coordinates. Aftershocks continued in the area for months, some as large as magnitude 5.0. Gorbachevcut short his trip to fly back to Moscow. Countless churches and mosques collapsed, as did the 1st-century temple of Garni, though it was reconstructed with its original stones. And unfortunately, without food or water and the increasingly cold weather of winter, the death toll climbed steadily despite the rescue efforts. Gorbachev was asleep in a New York hotel when the quake hit. A strike-slip component in the rupture meant that the blocks also moved laterally past each other, rather than just up or down. ", All of this resulted in a massive disruption of the reconstruction plans. The U.S. — and the world — responded. In northern Armenia, the 600-kilometer-long Lesser Caucasus Mountains experience north-south compression as the two plates converge, giving rise to seismic active in recent times: a magnitude-5 earthquake hit Spitak in 1967, a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck Leninakan (now Gyumri) in 1926, and a magnitude-5.3 event hit Kirovakan in 1911. This was the first time the Soviet Union had accepted help from the U.S. government since World War II. Many children ended up being sent to the United States for medical treatment, staying there during their recovery until going back to Armenia. American Red Cross President Dick Schubert surveys the damage in Armenia following the earthquake in December. Whenever the plates moving beneath Armenia … Then-Armenian Assembly Board Chairman Hirair Hovnanian leading a delegation bringing humanitarian relief to Armenia after the 1988 earthquake WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 30th Anniversary of the Spitak Earthquake, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) remembers the thousands of lives lost and villages destroyed after a massive earthquake, registering 6.9 on the Richter Scale, struck… The two tremors, only minutes … Often, it took up to five hours to travel 46 miles in order to reach hospitals in Yerevan. Upwards of 10,000 people were reported to have been killed, mostly by the resulting landslides. Today in Armenia, Dec. 7 is a day of remembrance: Armenian Earthquake Memorial Day. In some of the cities, the loss of medical staff numbered between 70% to 80%. “Many of these psychological effects that were initially identified continued to persist in this population some 23 years later, affecting not only their mental health and quality of life, but in many cases their physical health as well,” said Haroutune K. Armenian, an epidemiologist at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, in an article in the school’s magazine in 2015. Located on the lawn outside the 17 th street Red Cross building in Washington D.C., is a 30-foot-tall bronze statue of a mother protectively embracing her child. According to "The 1988 Earthquake in Soviet Armenia," upwards of 30% of people received "no on-site medical assistance" and many were taken to hospitals in Soviet Georgia or unaffected parts of Armenia. Armenia. On Dec. 6, 1988, a magnitude-3 earthquake hit northern Armenia, though it received little attention because of the perceived lack of serious seismic risk in the area. Roughly two-thirds of those who perished as a result of the earthquake were under the age of 18 since the quake struck during the day while most children were at school. Between 25,000 and 100,000 people are estimated to have died, upwards of 130,000 were injured, and half a million people were rendered homeless. Although the Soviet Union had said that reconstruction should take roughly two years, by 1989, it was clear that reconstruction was going to take at least nine more years. However, according to EVN Report, at the time Gorbachev had a turbulent relationship with the Armenian people due to the Soviet Union's refusal to honor Nagorno-Karabakh's annexation referendum in 1988. Environmental groups opposed reopening of the plant, since it poses an environmental threat. In an attempt to offset a six-year-old energy crisis caused by blockades by Azerbaijan and Turkey, the Armenian government in mid-1995 reactivated a nuclear power plant at Metsamor, close since 1988. after the catastrophic earthquake in northern Armenia. Armenia has had: (M1.5 or greater) 0 earthquakes in the past 24 hours 0 earthquakes in the past 7 days; 0 earthquakes in the past 30 days; 30 earthquakes in the past 365 days Armenia is located on the Alpine-Himalayan belt, or the Alpide belt, which is a seismic belt that runs from the Alps to the Himalayas, formed out of the tectonic collision between the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian Plate, per Earth Magazine. The country had no disaster contingency plans and rescue efforts were disorganized, which led to more deaths. In addition to government aid, American Armand Hammer, a philanthropist who headed Occidental Petroleum Corp., flew to Armenia on Dec. 10 with a planeload of medical supplies and a $1 million donation. 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