The Fountain District – Gyumri

December 7, 2008

Twenty years after the earthquake the situation in the Fountain District in Gyumri, Armenia, has not changed much. On 7 December 1988, as a powerful earthquake struck the town of Gyumri and the nearby territory, tens of thousands of people were left homeless. Many found shelter in small houses that were given by the government or found by the people themselves. The government promised then that in a two years time the people will be given apartments. Now that 20 years have passed there are still roughly 4000 people waiting to get an apartment.

The Fountain District is one of the spots where about 300 households have been waiting for their home for 20 years.


Geghetsik Gevorgyan lives with her ill son in a house in one of the farthest corners of the Fountain District. She has been moving from one small house to another after the earthquake ruined the building where her apartment was. Geghetsik’s pension of $80 a month is all they have for living.




Harutyun and Manik Gevorgyan have been married for six months. Harutyun moved to his wife’s house after the wedding. He lost his home after the earthquake. His family received a house from the government but sold it soon. He and his wife clean the streets for a living.





Chichak Petrosyan’s house is always full of relatives who come to help. She found the place, which used to be an ice-cream booth, right after she lost her home during the earthquake, and has been living there since then. The people in the images are her relatives and neighbors.






Lena Atoyan and her daughter Susanna have lived in the same house for twenty years, waiting to get an apartment. Lena has been in bed some several months because of an illness in her legs. Lena and Susanna are only supported by a pension of $90 a month.






11 Responses to “The Fountain District – Gyumri”

  1. […] empty promises. Meanwhile, Anush Babajanyan's Photoblog puts the figure at nearly half that and posts photographs of life in just one district of Gyumri where 300 families still live in domiks (metal containers). Posted by Onnik Krikorian  Print Version Share […]

  2. Onnik, 4000 families is the official number as of two days ago…. Shant TV in Gyumri was one of those reporting on it and the reporters said the actual and unofficial number was around 5000…

  3. Anush, great stuff and well done for marking the 20th Anniversary like this. Also, congrats on your wedding!!!

  4. Hi Anush, I know. However, as Mika had used the figure of 7,000 I had to use both. Anyway, great stuff.

  5. artmika Says:

    Great photostory, Anush. A very appropriate way to mark the 20th anniversary of the earthquake.

    … and big congrats to you and Arik!!

    As to the numbers, I quoted Reuters which puts numbers as “7000 families”.

  6. […] here, here, and here while local young photographer Anush Babajanyan marks the anniversary by posting images from one district where 300 families remain homeless. Twenty years after the earthquake the situation in the Fountain […]

  7. Says:

    […] This story has been added to – the new Armenian sharing and citizen media site. Help promote this story to the front page of Khosq by voting it up. […]

  8. nazarian Says:

    What’s the bizarre structure in the first photograph?

  9. Onnik, Artmika, thank you for the congrats!

    Nazarian, it was photographed from inside a car.

  10. Hetq says officially there are 4,284 people homeless in Gyumri, but says the real figure is likely to be 8,000.

    Again, another different figure because 8,000 people is unlikely to represent 7,000 families.

  11. Onnik, the translation is wrong in this article… the Armenian version says 4284 “anotevanner”, which means homeless, doesn’t say families or people… but the Gyumri officials who had done the last count had given this number for the families. And at the end of the article it becomes clear it’s about families, the 8,000 as well….

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