THE DEMOGRAPHIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE CATASTROPHIC EARTHQUAKE IN ARMENIA.
According to the data supplied by the Armenian State
Ccmmittee on Statistics, on January 12, 1989 and based on the
general census of the population of Armenia in 1989, the
population of Armenia was 3283 thousands.
On the basis of the average annual population increase in the Republic during the 1984-1987 period, the population of Armenia is calculated to be about 3504 thousands. Accordingly, the minimum population increase in 1988 is taken to be 42 thousand and in 1989, 50 thousand.
Thus, the difference between the actual (after the earthquake) and calculated (before the earthquake) population of Armenia is 221 thousand. Deducting the official statistics data on those evacuated outside the Republic (approx. 130 thousand) and the number of the perished (approx. 25 thousand), there remain 66 thousand people unaccounted for.
It must be noted that the official information on the perished and the evacuated is incomplete. The 130 and 25 thousand quoted above need serious review and revision. The lists provided to the "Search" Center for analisys are neither complete nor accurate. There are many repetitions. In fact, the lists of the evacuated and those who perished are more nearly 60 and 16 thousand, respectively.
This means that we are lacking the following:
- An analisys of the real demographic pucture of the population of Armenia which must serve as the basis for the development of the socio-economic rehabilitation program.
- The determination of the real socio-economic needs of the society and of the violations of the social and cultural codes in different sections of the Republic and among the various groups of the population;
-The calculation of the changes in the sex-age index of the population;
- Studies on the disruptions of the structure of production in the Republic and the changes in the structure of the industrial potential;
- The prediction of the possible consequences of emigration of the great part of the population from Armenia.
The demographic picture of the Republic on January 12, 1989 was as follows:
-The population of Armenia: 3283 thousand;
-The population of Yerevan (only): 1215,5 thousand;
-The homeless population: 500 thousand and;
-Refugees: 190 thousand;
-Missing are 91 thousand (25 thousand are victims);
-Evacuated outside the Republc: 130 thousand.
The complete restoration of the towns and regions in the Republic will take five years and that of the social-phychological condition of the survivors from the quake will take about ten years.
The preliminary analisys of the available information shows that during the next several years we will see a sharp birth rate reduction and an increase of the death rate, and that the median age of the population will grow. This will effect the process of achieving the pre-quake number of the Armenian people. It is known that, according to the 1979 census data, 2725 thousand of the 3031 thousand population of Armenia were Armenians. The population will reach its 1988 pre-quake level in ten to fifteen years at best. Restoration of the natural annual increase levels will take approximately ten years.
Delays in the arrangements of living conditions and employment of the refugees is criminal now. So is procrastination in returning of data on the evacuated, mainly children and youth who have aspirations to remain where they were evacuated.
There is an urgent need of the new demographic program for the surviving of the Armenians. Armenia is the only republic in the Soviet Union which has less inhabitants than there are Armenians in the USSR; this was also true prior to the quake. In 1979 there were 4151 thousand Armenians in USSR and 2725 thousand in Armenia (65,6% of those in the USSR). Hence, the number of Armenians in Armenia seems to show a tendency to decrease.
What is in store for Armenia?
To normalise the demographic situation in Armenia and to stop the migration of Armenians from Armenia and we have:
- To direct the main part of the forthcoming aid for the faster restoration of the dwellings and the construction of the new small towns and settlements;
-To send abroad for studies and probation for one or two years some hundreds of young specialists and scholars in all branches necessary for the natural development of the economics of the Republic;
-To invite foreing specialists and scholars from the world - especially Armenians of the diaspora - to help in restoring the economics and industry of the Republic;
-To impliment a program of selling and leasing lands, parts of unused teritory (mainly to Armenians from the foreing diaspo- ra);
-To declare a state of emergency in Armenia. Armenia needs not only a free economic zone, but also a new economic and social demogrqaphic policy;
-To recognise all Armenians in the world as citizens of Armenia.