Note  194  From Breck (Ren) To Pesht (Leo)  16-Feb-89 11:51PM-PST

.... (introductory paragraphs omitted.)


"Finally tonight we have a story on the aftermath of the
earthquake in Soviet Armenia which took over 25,000 lives and
devastated much of Soviet Armenia.  Our report shows a group of
Armenian Americans who were invited to Soviet Armenia to review
reconstruction efforts."

"They were accompanied by Independent News producer Theodore
Boghossian. He documents the great difficulty that the survivors
still face nearly two months after the earthquake."


"The international media coverage that accompanied the rescue
effort has vanished in Armenia.  But the worst problems facing
this earthquake stricken region still remain.  By all
appearances, very little disaster relief reached the survivors
still living in the earthquake zone, and reconstruction plans are
almost nonexistent."

"Yerevan, the Soviet Armenian Capital, is a city under stress.
To prevent nationalistic demonstrations from interfering in
the earthquake relief, Soviet soldiers are posted at nearly
every major intersection in Yerevan.  A midnight to five am
curfew exists."

"It is estimated that an estimated 150,000 people left homeless
by the earthquake have come to Yerevan.  Compounding this
gloomy political environment is the heavy air pollution which
comes from nearby factories which blocks out the sunlight by
midmorning and makes breathing difficult."

"At children's hospital in Yerevan Surgeon Armand [name
indistinguishable] said that he needs outside help to cope with
these young survivors and more pediatric help to prepare them for
prosthetic devices. He said that he had neither the proper
sanitation here to prevent further infection, nor the tools to
prepare their wounds properly."

"This fourth grader required amputation of her right leg after
it was crushed underneath the rubble.  She was in school in
Leninakan when the quake struck.  Her father was killed, but
her mother survived and brought her here to Yerevan for
treatment.  The Soviet Government and Project Hope finally
sent many of these young victims and their families to the
United States for surgical treatment."

"Estimates of the number of these young children who need
help is as difficult as is any earthquake information.
Three different government health officials gave widely varying
estimates of the number of amputees in Armenia, ranging from
275 to 5,000."

"From Yerevan, the group of Armenian Americans from Boston
made the two and a half hour drive by bus to Spitak, they
were accompanied by prominent Armenian scholar Gerard

[Scenes of Spitak]

"20,000 people lived here before the earth quake which killed
12,000 people in Spitak alone.  Many of the children who lived
here and survived have been moved temporarily locations
throughout the Soviet union.  Survivors who stayed behind
exist here amidst the ruins of their previous lives."

"Many in Spitak are determined to stay.  This old man told
the Boston group that he lived here close to a fire for
nearly four weeks after the earthquake, until he was finally
able to get a tent.  He said that food distribution to
survivors had stopped recently, but he didn't know why.
He said that he required clothing and medication, but most
relief supplies required pushing and shoving to get, and
he did not have the energy."

"His sentiments were echoed by this old woman who told
Libaridian that she and her family still feared that they
might not survive.  "We are half human now, we are a
frozen people who come the spring will thaw and either
live or die.""

"Asked about earthquake relief, she replied, "The day before
yesterday we were told that 200 cranes would arrive, but
obviously they haven't.  My house is under rubble, but
they didn't give us one crane.  For fifteen days we have
been kissing their feet.""

"The group then went to Leninakan, the largest city in the
earthquake zone.  this was the day known in the Armenian
religion as "karassoonk, the day when the traditional period
of mourning following death was supposed to end."

"At a hastily dug cemetery on a hill side outside the city
thousands of family and friends went to visit loved ones
who were killed in the quake.  Most of the survivors
commemorated the occasion with ancient graveside rituals,
which involved sharing food and drink with the dead."

"Here in Leninakan, people were more critical and skeptical
than they were in the small town of Spitak that the rebuilding
efforts would be successful, the scene of destruction here
is greater.  this corner of leninakan, for example, once
was occupied by buildings that before the earthquake housed
nearly 20 thousand people.  Many of the buildings still
standing must be demolished for safety reasons."

"What the earthquake didn't demolish itself, is being
dynamited and carried away.  Little temporary housing
has arrived except for these tents and some porta-cabins
from England.  Most people share garages and single family
homes that were able to withstand the quake.  "This is
where they are living now, ten of them.""

"At the hotel that is now Leninakan's makeshift city hall
a wall sized map is color-coded for residents to survey.
Red denotes the buildings that the quake levelled.  Green
denotes those that will be dynamited.  Yellow denotes those
that have been condemned pending reconstruction.  Blue
denotes those structures that are habitable, but need

"People complain that they are existing on bread, gelatine,
and whatever else they had been storing before the quake.
Diets appeared to be of low protein and unbalanced.  Most
survivors receive some nutrition everyday, but many had
no idea how they would survive the winter in the earthquake
zone without a better more dependable food supply."

"Much of the food that had been shipped in was inappropriate
or had expiration dates that had already passed.  Leaving
many of the survivors to accuse people of using the
earthquake to dump what they couldn't use back home."

"Dr. Gerard Libaridian, Armenian Scholar:  "What they are talking
about is that none of the relief aid that they have heard about
has reached them.  Anything that is coming must be going
somewhere else and they know that it is sold in the streets of
Yerevan.  Suzannah here is saying that whatever clothing is
coming is mainly male clothing and they are getting absolutely
nothing, she has been in the same piece for forty days."

"They also complained that the government cut off the
electricity each night making life much more difficult

"One example of the confusion and the lack of centralized
planning that plagued the region was the makeshift pharmacy
in Leninakan.  Pharmacists said that all the drugs that
arrived were labelled in languages other than Armenian or
Russian, requiring careful time consuming vocal instructions
must accompany each dispensing."

"There seems to be barely enough primary care doctors, and
to few pharmacies in the earthquake zone.  Most of the sick
have been shipped to Yerevan,  But with the stress and strain
of life within the rubble most people need some kind of
health attention.  Psychiatrists in the area stressed the
drastic need for almost the entire population for some form
of therapy following the Decem1Yr earthquake disaster."

"They claim that long term work will be necessary to rebuild
the human spirits that the earthquake destroyed.  The
children otherwise will be especially unable to cope with
the emotional traumas posed by a long and difficult
reconstruction period.  The psychiatrists  emphasized the
need of Soviet Armenians to know that the outside world cares."

"Else their outlook will turn from bleak to hopeless."