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December 16
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One of the most devastating earthquake of the twentieth century hit Armenia 30 years ago, at 11:41 on December 7, 1988.

The Spitak earthquake, which affected around 40 percent of Armenia’s territory, according to official figures, claimed the lives of 25 thousand, left 19 thousand disabled and 500 thousand without shelter. Over 300 settlements were affected.

A 30-second line that divided the lives of people to “before” and “after”… Scared children calling their parents, parents calling their children in horror...

According to the experts, According to experts, during a natural disaster, energy equivalent to the explosion of ten atomic bombs was released, each of which was similar to the one dropped on Hiroshima back in 1945. The wave caused by the earthquake was recorded by scientific laboratories in Europe, Asia, America and Australia.

Virtually all countries responded to the tragedy, doctors and rescuers from France, Switzerland, UK, Germany and the United States headed to Armenia. Planes with medicine, donor blood, medical equipment, clothes and food from Italy, Japan, China and other countries were landing at the airports of Yerevan and Leninakan (Gyumri). Overall, 111 countries from all continents provided humanitarian aid.

Thirty years later many people still live in temporary houses that were built after the earthquake.

The epicenter of the magnitude 11 earthquake was registered in the village of Nalband, now called Shirakamut.

Gyumri, the second largest city in the Armenian SSR, was destroyed by 80 percent. Around 14,000 died in Gyumri. Spitak – the city of 17,000 people – was destroyed completely.

Some people mark December 7 as their second birthday, they believe it is miracle that they and their families survived. Some people have been missing, and their families still hope that they will be found.

The Armenian government, representatives of the political forces and of diplomatic missions are in Gyumri to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Spitak earthquake.

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