On Dec. 7, the AYF-WR hosted a Twitter chat in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Spitak earthquake in Armenia. The 6.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 25,000 people and destroyed the city, leaving thousands homeless and displaced.
Participants from across the United States and Canada discussed ways to improve conditions in Armenia and better prepare for earthquakes and relief efforts throughout the world. The chat was moderated by Purag Moumdjian of the Pasadena “Nigol Touman” Chapter.
Those taking part in the discussion generally agreed that foreign aid is not enough to restore a country following an earthquake. “[T]he government of the country itself has to be committed and stable enough to use foreign aid effectively [and] help its people,” said Anoush Djrbashian of the Burbank “Varak” Chapter. “The internal structure (or lack thereof) is the problem,” agreed AYF-WR Executive Director, Stepan Keshishian.
Participant William Bairamian offered a suggestion: to “not focus on who’s at fault but on how to move forward and be better – and doing it.” He later tweeted, “The ingenuity and will of people should not be discounted. Governments can help but are not necessary for creation.”
Moumdjian posed a question about what needs to be done to improve infrastructure in Armenia for better earthquake preparedness. Answers included suggestions such as educating the country about disaster preparedness, and developing Diasporan projects in Armenia. Tro Krikorian believes the latter to be a method that has proven to be effective in the past.
The discussion lasted about an hour and a half. For complete coverage, click here.