hard freeze that brought winter to Yerevan mid-December
is the worst in 70 years meteorologists say. And
the record-breaking cold has caused numerous problems
throughout the city, reminding some of a decade
ago when electrical and petrol shortages complicated
effects of temperatures on the minus side.
By this season holidays, temperatures were as
low as -30 and residents of several hundred buildings
in Armenia remained without water and sewerage
because utility pipes froze.
Some residents were deprived of drinking water
for several weeks, and when pipes did thaw, many
cracked dumping sewage water into some apartments
and building entryways.
Yerevan mayor Robert Nazaryan promised that all
pipes would be repaired by yesterday (January
13), but many people have remained without water.
year winter took us unawares" Nazaryan says.
"This year some 1,600 buildings could be
centrally heated and the inhabitants could avoid
the breakdown. But now the central heating is
only in 600 buildings because people did not pay."
But still inhabitants in some centrally heated
buildings did not avoid the problems either.
Building No 54 of the Malatia-Sebastia district
was supposed to be centrally heated as the residents
paid in advance. But they did not have heat nor
water. When the hot water was made available at
the end of December, the pipes had already frozen.
Seda Minasyan's house on Estonakan 14 Street
resembled a lake several days ago. When the pipes
that are located just near their apartment on
the first floor split, her apartment was flooded
about five centimeters deep.
The family applied to the office of the housing
and communal services of their district. Plumbers
fixed the accessible piece of the pipe but warned
that in case of another freeze, the pipe will
probably crack again.
"They told us that the pipes are old and
rusty and it is not possible to change all the
pipes, because they are located inside the walls
of the building," Minasyan says.
The City Council initiated special brigades to
deal with the breakdown. Each of 13 communities
of Yerevan set up headquarters with the aim to
had up to 50 calls per day," says Arthur
Martirosyan, the deputy chief of the special headquarter
service of the City Council.
But some like Samvel Tadevosyan of Hanrapetutyan
76/2 could not wait till the pipe fitter came,
because the pipes cracked just near his door and
water came into his home. He repaired pipes on
his own means, having spent in all around $100.
"I think the problem appears because there
is no heat insulation on the pipes. I fixed only
the small part of the pipe and I am afraid this
is not the end of the problem," he says.
For Tadevosyan and other residents of Hanrapetutyan
76/2 as well as for residents of several houses
on Sundukyan street, Shinararner street and several
other buildings the water problem created more
headaches as the leaks caused short circuits that
disrupted service of electricity.
"We had no light for two days," says
Inesa Stepanyan, resident of Sundukyan No 2.
"Maybe two days without light is not a problem
in summer. But in winter the electricity is the
only way to heat our homes."
Short circuits caused by water from cracked pipes
caused 45 fires called into the city fire departments.
"This winter brought many unexpected surprises
with it," Varazdat Avoyan, the head of the
Communities Development Center says. "The
communities of each district, the City Council
and other institutions should take lessons from
the present situation and should take measures
to prevent such breakdowns"
some, there may be a bright side to the suffering
caused by winter's unexpected wrath: School children
have been granted an extended holiday, as pipes
in schools need to be repaired before classes
"We were supposed to start lessons on January
13. But when the sanitation service visited our
school they forbade us to have lessons until we
would have water," says Anahit Mkrtchyan,
a teacher at School No. 118.
Angelika Hovanisyan, the PR coordinator of the
ARMGIDROMET ( the meterological office in Yerevan)
says that the cold weather in December and January
was conditioned by South-Western arctic cold mass
and by Scandinavian anti-cyclone.
"The temperature in January will be as low
as 8-10 below zero. According to our datas and
to the datas from the Russian meterological office
there will be no such hard freeze in the rest
of January as it was in December."