A day that cannot be erased from our memory

December 07 2023, 15:00


Exactly 35 years ago, on December 7, 1988, a devastating and catastrophic earthquake occurred in Spitak, hitting the north of Armenia.

Powerful tremors destroyed almost the entire northern part—about 40% of the country—in 30 seconds. The intensity in the epicenter, Spitak, reached 10, in Leninakan, the intensity was 9, and in Kirovakan, it was 8. According to official data, the massive quake claimed the lives of 25 thousand people, with 140 thousand becoming disabled and more than 500 thousand losing their homes.

The quake destroyed a total of 17% of the housing, 277 schools, 245 preschools, and 250 health facilities. More than 170 industrial enterprises ceased to function, and about 82 thousand workers lost their jobs. The total damage from the earthquake was estimated at $14 billion. In a few seconds, almost 40% of the country’s industrial potential was shattered.

Rescuers and volunteers from all over the world rushed to help Armenia. The committee for the elimination of the consequences of the tragedy was headed by Chair of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Nikolai Ryzhkov, to whom a monument was subsequently erected in Gyumri, and a street was named after him.

Today, we remember and mourn the victims of the Spitak earthquake, one of the most tragic pages in the history of the Armenian people.