“The processes underway in Armenia are meant to restore people’s hopes and optimism” - Nikol Pashinyan pays tribute to 1988 Earthquake Victims
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As part of commemorative events dedicated to the 1988 Earthquake’s 30th anniversary, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today paid tribute to the victims of the earthquake in Gyumri. At 11:41 pm, Nikol Pashinyan laid a wreath at the monument in the St. Amenaprkich Church. Nikol Pashinyan attended a requiem service to the victims’ memory.
The Acting Prime Minister made a statement, in which he said:
“Dear Gyumri residents,
Dear Spitak residents,
Dear Vanadzor residents,
Dear Akhuryan residents,
Dear compatriots from Shirak and Lori Marzes who badly suffered during the 1988 earthquake,
Honorable National Assembly Speaker,
Dear government members,
Dear diplomatic corps representatives,
This day 30 years ago, the devastating Spitak earthquake hit the region, the epicenter of which was a short way from Nalband village, now Shirakamut. The earthquake registered a magnitude of 9 to 11. Over 25,000 civilians were killed, with about 500,000 people left homeless, while hundreds of thousands of buildings were ruined. Such a high death toll was a direct blow to our people’s potential. The disaster was a direct blow to our country’s economy and a huge psychological and moral blow to the nation.
At the same time, the disaster became a unique cornerstone for national consolidation, and hundreds of thousands of millions of people around the world took their attention to their historic homeland. Perhaps the most striking example is the example of French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour, who immediately responded to the earthquake, visited the disaster zone, grew twice, many times as closely attached to his homeland, which continued until the end of his life.
The earthquake also caused a unique consolidation around humanitarian values across the globe. The friendly peoples of the Soviet Union, the friendly peoples worldwide made their contribution to our people and Armenia, showing thereby a unique example of universal unity. Nevertheless, the problem of disaster zone remains topical 30 years after the earthquake.
Of course, by saying disaster zone we first of all understand the housing needs of people, construction and the opening of schools and kindergartens. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the earthquake destroyed a huge economic segment of pivotal significance for Armenia’s industry, and by saying disaster zone rehabilitation we should mean not only the restoration of people’s housing needs, but also the construction or restoration of schools and kindergartens, the reinstatement of our country’s economic potential in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Spitak, Akhuryan and throughout the disaster zone, as a whole.
But the biggest damage caused by the disaster was the devastation that occurred in the souls of people. Shortly after the earthquake, the disaster zone rehabilitation started, which was not the case with the people’s hopes, self-confidence and optimism. Therefore, we first of all need to have it in mind when we speak about the disaster zone.
When we say disaster zone, first of all we have to consider how much we have managed to restore people’s confidence in their own strengths, how much we have restored their optimism about the coming day, how much we have strengthened the belief that the victims’ incomplete deeds and dreams will come true one day.
This approach to rehabilitation is what matters most for me. I do hope and I am convinced that the processes underway in Armenia are meant to restore people’s hopes and optimism. And I am convinced that yes, we have entered a stage where every day, every hour, every month, every week we must seriously rebuild the people’s faith and confidence in their own future, the future of their own country, and the future of their children.
And this is the most important mission of today’s government and the future governments, just because unfortunately Armenia turned into a big disaster zone after the earthquake, and our greatest challenge is to overcome this psychological catastrophe and civil tragedy.
And now, on this holy day, and from this sacred site, I would like to address all the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, and especially those who suffered from the devastating earthquake of December 7, 1988: Dear compatriots, your pain is in my heart, your needs are in my mind, your dreams are in my soul and inspire confidence that everything will be fine, everything will actually be good.
And therefore, long live the heroic people of Gyumri, long live the heroic people of Vanadzor, long live the Armenians of Spitak and, in general, the Armenian people, who have been waging a millennia-long struggle against death, and have won a victory for the sake of life and creativity.
Once again, let me hold a minute’s silence in commemoration of the 1988 Great Earthquake’s victims and reiterate our loyalty to their unfinished dreams, unfinished work and our determination to go the way they were dreaming of.”
The event was attended by the RA National Assembly President, government members, the Mayor of Yerevan, other high ranking officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Armenia, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Nikolay Grechushkin, and Governor of the State of Kansas Jeff Colyer.