Scores of panic-stricken residents of Vanadzor rushed out of their homes early on Monday after a low-magnitude earthquake jolted Armenia’s third largest city and surrounding areas.
The tremors, measuring 4 on Richter scale at their epicenter 13 kilometers southwest of the Vanadzor, caused no casualties or devastation.
Ensuing rumors of a more powerful earthquake expected in the area triggered panic in the city, with many people leaving their houses and apartment blocks and spending hours in courtyards and streets. The local branch of the national Rescue Service reported numerous phone calls from anxious residents citing those rumors.
Armenia’ National Seismic Protection Service dismissed them in a statement issued later in the day. Emergency Situations Minister Armen travelled to Vanadzor to personally calm the local population.
Vanadzor and other parts of the Lori province suffered hundreds of casualties during a 1988 earthquake that devastated much of northern and northwestern Armenia. Memories of the calamity, which left more than 25,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of others homeless, are still fresh among residents of those regions. Thousands of them still lack adequate housing.