While most electrical substations were repaired within a week, electricity was not restored to many residences for months, according to a 1991 report by engineers for the Electric Power Research Institute. In several cases, relief teams ended up stuck in Moscow because officials simply didn't know where to send them. “On the evening of the 7th, the “Time” program announced a huge earthquake in Armenia… Armenia is a small country about the size of Maryland that borders Turkey to the west, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east and Georgia to the north. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, less than 20% of the lost housing had been rebuilt. According to Nature, not many seismologists thought that an earthquake as severe as the Spitak earthquake "was possible in the region." What follows is a passage from his memoirs pertaining to that day. Since the Spitak earthquake, Armenia has made efforts to study and monitor the country’s seismic activity and improve emergency preparedness. Rescue teams and medical supplies were immediately dispatched to Armenia from the United States, France, India, and Cuba. Roughly two-thirds of those who perished as a result of the earthquake were under the age of 18 since the quake struck during the day while most children were at school. Today marks 32nd anniversary since 1988 earthquake in Armenia. For some, like Ara Tadevossian and his mother, there's a belief that it might have been tragically fortunate not to be rescued in the first few days, simply because everything had been destroyed and it might not have been possible to airlift people to safety earlier. The Spitak earthquake shattered the peace of Armenia 32 years ago. Despite the international relief efforts, the earthquake zone is still considered a disaster zone, and rebuilding has been slow, with recovery hampered by the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent war with Azerbaijan. On Dec. 10, three days after the quake, three cargo planes carrying U.S. medical supplies and rescue teams, including dogs trained to sniff out survivors buried in the rubble, left Washington, D.C., and a military base in Italy, headed for the Armenian capital of Yerevan, about 100 kilometers from Spitak. Much of the medications that were sent to Armenia were also "past their expiry date and therefore unusable.". And ten years after the earthquake, almost $8 million in post-quake funds remained frozen in a Moscow bank after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Armenian National Survey for Seismic Protection was founded in 1991, in addition to the Emergency Management Administration. “In the Armenian Republic, thousands of people have died,” Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze said at a news conference on Dec. 8, 1988. On December 6th, 1988, the northern region of Armenia was hit by a magnitude 3.0 earthquake at 3:27 in the afternoon followed by a larger aftershock that measured 5.8 almost five minutes afterward. Countless churches and mosques collapsed, as did the 1st-century temple of Garni, though it was reconstructed with its original stones. Today in Armenia, Dec. 7 is a day of remembrance: Armenian Earthquake Memorial Day. On December 11th, a Soviet cargo jet crashed as it reached the Leninakan airport, resulting in the deaths of 78 people. President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev was in New York City when he received a telegram from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher describing what had happened and offering sympathy and aid. With the collapse of the Soviet Union three years later, reconstruction became even more of an arduous task. This mountain system began to form during the Late Triassic, largely from the tectonic collision between the Arabian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. One of several reasons why so many buildings suffered so much damage is that the Soviet Union "had only one building code for the entire territory," regardless of whether or not the building was in a coastal or earthquake region. The complex quake involved two or more ruptures on different fault planes. The destruction happened so fast that people thought the city had been bombed. On the morning of December 7th, it became clear that the previous quakes were merely foreshocks to the main quake, which hit at 11:41 AM local time, measuring a magnitude of 6.8-7.0. According to "The 1988 Earthquake in Soviet Armenia," upwards of 30% of people received "no on-site medical assistance" and many were taken to hospitals in Soviet Georgia or unaffected parts of Armenia. In some of the cities, the loss of medical staff numbered between 70% to 80%. Augliere is a freelance writer and photographer and a former editorial intern with EARTH. 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