The devastating Spitak Earthquake occurred on December 7 1988. These are the results of the earthquake: damage area of 10.000 sq. km, where 1 million people lived, 11 ruined towns, 342 affected villages, 514,000 homeless people and 25,000 casualties, and a material damage of 13 billion Rubles.
Now let us see what the authorities have promised up to now.
In particular, USSR first and last president Mikhail Gorbachev promised to eliminate all the consequences of the disaster within 2-3 years.
During the years of his presidency, Levon Ter-Petrosyan announced about maximum elimination of the devastating consequences of the Spitak Earthquake. In particular, according to Ter-Petrosyan, there would be no disaster area as such in the year 2000.
After presidential elections in 1998, Robert Kocharyan approved his own Disaster Area Recovery Priority Program. According to the latter, 14,686 apartments were to be recovered during 1998-2001, which, by the way, was only 44% of the destroyed houses. According to official statistics, the reality is that 10 times less than the promised was actually carried out. Then, Kocharyan extended the program until 2003. However, according to data in the N26 Official Bulletin (November 26, 1998) of the RA Government Staff, 8171 apartments were recovered in Gyumri before 1998, while only 1143 apartments were recovered during the 5 years following the change of power. In 2003, he announced that the fatherland cannot be a disaster area and that there is no Disaster Area anymore. But by then, more than half of the affected population was still homeless.
Serzh Sargsyan has also given numerous promises to the population of the Disaster Area, starting from apartment building process to the vision of turning the disaster area into a development area. It is worth reminding that Serzh Sargsyan announced in 2008 that, and we quote here, “We will be able to completely overcome all the consequences of the disaster within a few years. When I use the word “completely”, I mean that there will be no families left homeless because of the earthquake”.
Just a few years later, in 2012, Sargsyan announced, “In the nearest future, there will be no problem with apartments”.
In 2013, he once again announced that very often no family will be left without an apartment. He particularly said, “I strongly believe that the phrase “disaster area” is increasingly less characteristic of Gyumri. Now that we have almost completed the apartment-building programs, development programs are a priority for the authorities”.
Today, 28 years after the devastating earthquake, numerous families still live in temporary houses.