weekend when 60-year old Lyudmila Mirzoyan went
outside as usual in the morning to work in her
garden, she was astonished and didn't believe
what she saw.
Apricot, pear, cherry, and plum trees already
in bloom looked like sails in boundless water.
Lyudmila's village of Sis in the Ararat region
was one of more than 50 settlements throughout
Armenia struck by flood.
"The emergency situation that has developed
on the whole territory of the republic during
the last days was absolutely predictable,"
says head of the Press Center of the Department
of Emergency Situations colonel Nikolay Grigoryan.
"However, not of the sizes like that. Several
dozens of residences of Siunik, Ararat, Shirak,
Tavush, Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor, Lori and other
regions have suffered."
Specialists say the flooding is a result of unusually
high temperatures which accelerated thawing, releasing
unexpected amounts of melted snow into Armenia's
streams and rivers.
"During several hours I lost my hope and
the work I've been making for years, my fruit
and vegetable gardens," says Lyudmila, who
emigrated from Azerbaijan. "The basement
where we stored flour, clothes, wheat and other
foodstuff was filled with water, and walls of
the house were wrecked. The soil that we have
been cultivating for many years became spoiled."
Water level reached 1.5 meters in her garden
and has stayed that way for nine days. She says
she has "lost everything".
The destruction is significant, Lyudmila says,
because she relies on food from her garden to
supplement what she can afford on her 6,000 drams
(about $10) pension.
Anichka Zakharyan, 67, emigrated from Baku and
says she and her neighboring villagers have lived
through bitter times but says: "God knows
how we are going to live after this."
Villager Yeva Mirzoyan showed a room where all
her belongings have been prepared for leaving.
of the house located in front of our place had
somehow been evacuated as their house was completely
surrounded with water," she said. "With
great difficulty they were evacuated with the
help of different bricks and tiles. I myself prepared
all my belongings so that in case water reaches
my room I could easily leave the place. We are
empty-handed now. Up to now nobody has helped
us, nobody even came to calculate the extent of
Head of Sis village Yeghishe Lazgyan says damage
is extensive and that thawing has caused the Hrazdan
river to overflow, flooding at least 110 hectares
of wheat and potato crops.
"Villages these days aren't only empty-handed
but they also suffered great losses as they spent
at least $300 for each hectare. During one night
Sis lost all its arable fields, harvest and hope,"
Lazgyan says village leaders sent an urgent note
to the government asking for assistance but so
far has no reply.
A task force has been assigned to assess the
damage and seek compensation.
"We think that the government will do something,"
Lazgyan says. "Although in cases like this
I don't remember a single time when a villager