If one of the missing is an unidentified citizen, then we have one missing citizen. Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of Armenia, Artyush Grigoryan, told reporters this on Wednesday morning—and with respect to aftermath of the deadly explosion at the Surmalu shopping market in Yerevan on August 14.
"According to our information, at the time of the explosion, the missing citizen was at the entrance to the first floor of the building. We are now conducting search operations in the nearby areas of the building, which creates additional complications because there is a danger of the building collapsing," he added.
According to the deputy minister, specialists from the Seismic Service and a private company have been called for discussions, and now the aforesaid building's surroundings are being cooled off so that search-and-rescue dogs can work.
"At the moment, 70% of the rubble cleaning work has been carried out. It is unlikely that the work will be completed today—but it is not ruled out. Everything depends on when we will find the [missing] citizens. We are now discussing the matter of entering the building in order to carry out search operations," said Grigoryan.
According to him, the Ministry of Emergency Situations had the architectural plans of the Surmalu market from the beginning, but during the search, areas were found that were not visible in those plans.
"That's why we wanted an additional plan to identify with what we have. The entire structure was disrupted as a result of the collapse. It is difficult to say whether there was an area that was not in the plan, or whether there were changes during the collapse," said the deputy minister.
He emphasized that the owners of the Surmalu market do not participate in the search, but they keep in touch.
Artyush Grigoryan added that once the search and rescue operations are concluded, the aforementioned building will be completely dismantled.