Transcript: The Earthquake In Armenia

THE EARTHQUAKE IN ARMENIA

ABC News
SHOW: TIME TUNNEL 9:00 AM EST ABC
December 8, 2006 Friday

Anchors: Rob Simmelkjaer

GRAPHICS: TIME TUNNEL

ROB SIMMELKJAER (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) Hi, there. And welcome to ‘Time Tunnel," where we take
a look with what was making news in the past.

GRAPHICS: TRAVEL BACK TO THIS DAY IN TIME

ROB SIMMELKJAER (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) I’m Rob Simmelkjaer in New York. Today, we travel back
to this day in 1988, where a massive earthquake rocked the Soviet
Republic of Armenia. Here’s Peter Jennings with the news of the day.

GRAPHICS: 8 DECEMBER 1988

GRAPHICS: WORLD NEWS TONIGHT

ANNOUNCER

>>From ABC, this is ‘World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings.

PETER JENNINGS (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) Good evening. The disaster that summoned the Soviet, it
is so urgently home, began at 11:41 in the morning yesterday. Folks
were at work. The kids were in school. The earthquake was measured
at seven on the Richter scale. And that is an earthquake capable of
doing massive damage. And that seems to be the case.

PETER JENNINGS (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) The Soviet Republic of Armenia, which is roughly the size
of Maryland, is about 1500 miles south of Moscow, right on the border
with both Turkey and Iran. Based on what the International Red Cross
knows, they believed that 30,000 people may have lost their lives,
maybe more.

PETER JENNINGS (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) But maybe 300,000 are homeless, maybe more. Our first
report from the Soviet Union is the actual report that Soviet
television viewers saw on their evening news. The English voice is
our interpreter.

SOVIET REPORTER (MALE)

(Through translator) These are the ruins of Leninakan. In the central
square of the town, the clock shows the exact time disaster struck.

The second largest city in Armenia is in ruins. We saw houses turned
into heaps of metal and a concrete. Schools and kindergartens turned
into heaps of rubble. We saw people, their faces full of grief
and anguish. A tragedy they cannot express in words. According to
preliminary estimates, the earthquake of unprecedented strength
destroyed two-thirds of the city Leninakan. The city of Spitak,
70 kilometers away with a population of more than 20,000, has been
practically wiped from the face of the earth.

SOVIET REPORTER (MALE)

(Through translator) Overall, in the disaster-stricken area, hundreds
of thousands of people were made homeless. And tens of thousands lost
their lives. Today, the central committee of the Armenian Communist
Party, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers
of the Republic approved a message to the people of Armenia. Its words
were imbued with a deep feeling of grief and sorrow for the bereaved
families. It expressed faith in the spirit, courage and endurance of
the Armenian people. It declared the 9th and 10th of December to be
days of national mourning.

SOVIET REPORTER (MALE)

(Through translator) The whole country is coming to the aid of the
victims. All the Soviet Republics. And let us hope that the cities,
which rise from the ruins, will serve as a memorial to the victims
of this natural disaster. Today, Nikolai Ryzhkov, the chairman of
the commission set up by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union and chairman of the Council of Ministers, arrived in
Yerevan, accompanied by members of the commission including Minister
of Defense Yazov. After a meeting at the Central Committee of the
Armenian Communist Party, members of the commission went to the scene
of the disaster and started work.

PRIME MINISTER NIKOLAI RYZHKOV (SOVIET REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA)

(Through translator) Tonight, we will be taking a decision to mobilize
all equipment that can possibly be of use, not only from the army,
but also from factories, and not only from Armenia, but from other
republics, and from all sectors of the economy. We need mobile cranes
with lifting power of up to 40 tons. We need gas specialist with their
equipment. And everything has to be organized in shifts, because the
work is going on around the clock. I would like to make an appeal to
all factory managers working its party organizations.

Don’t wait for a formal decision to be taken. Today, right away,
start loading the equipment I mentioned, plus earth moving machines,
and send them here to Armenia.

PETER JENNINGS (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) As the Soviet sought, and heard it on television this
evening. And incidentally for them and for us, simply light-year
sooner than we would have seen such reporting before Mr. Gorbachev.

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