Primary Source

Disaster in Armenia, 1988


On December 7, 1988, an earthquake with a 6.9 magnitude struck the Soviet Republic of Armenia. With powerful aftershocks continuing for months following, Armenia struggled to recover. By United Nations' estimates, more than 25,000 people were killed, 15,000 more injured, and the physical damage equaled $14.2 billion (U.S.). This photograph shows some of the devastation, which included the complete destruction of an entire town (Spitak, Armenia). The earthquake also destroyed all of the region's hospitals, making treatment of the injured even more difficult. In order to respond to the disaster Soviet authorities allowed international relief organizations to lend assistance. The international community's involvement in the relief effort demonstrated the rapid changes of the Gorbachev reforms when compared with the complete denial of international support following the Chernobyl explosion only two years earlier.


Accessed April 16, 2007.

How to Cite This Source

"Disaster in Armenia, 1988," in World History Commons, [accessed December 3, 2021]