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Armenia: Earthquake in Turkey felt in Yerevan

On Sunday 23, October, 2011, the earthquake that struck Van, a city in South Eastern Turkey, was felt in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, and other parts of the small South Caucasus country. No stranger to earthquakes having suffered its own tragedy in 1988, the tremor was larger than those that have been experienced since.

With few media updates on the situation, and some even reporting that there were no news announcements at all until much later, the first reports materialized on Twitter and Facebook, and while buildings were still literally swaying from side to side.

@onewmphoto: There must be an earthquake. My apartment in Yerevan is still wobbling… #uneasyfeeling

@myrthekf: I think I just felt an earthquake in #yerevan.

    @onewmphoto: @myrthekf Yes, you did just feel an earthquake. My apartment was wobbling for longer than when it usually happens so must have been big.@myrthekf: @onewmphoto I know. It was much stronger than previous ones I have felt over the years.

@blansharm: #earthquake #Yerevan Earthquake, again, second or third within last two weeks! Scary!

@albertpoghosyan: Earthquake again in Yerevan! Strong actually!

@onewmphoto: We felt it in Armenia RT @Reuters FLASH: Magnitude 7.6 earthquake hits 35 kilometres northeast of Van, Turkey – USGS (via @oemoral)

@unzippedblog: Was speaking to parents in #Yerevan TV/radio #fail provide news coverage re #Earthquake it's me who provided them with online news #Armenia

With the memory of the Spitak earthquake which killed 25,000 still fresh in the minds of many Armenians, Журнал настоящего армянина noted that some families even evacuated their apartment buildings [ru]:

Только что выходил […] и как только вернулся во двор вижу чё то люди выходят в спешке, в начале не сообразил потом когда увидел общую картину подумал что это землетрясение. Особенно впечатляющим были мамы которые обернув детишек в одеяло выбежали во двор. Сразу перед глазами пробежал 1988 год когда еще детишками были и нас тоже родители точно так же завернули в одеяло и бежали во двор. Вот вам картина моего двора после толчков.

I just went out […] and as soon as I got back to the yard I saw that people were walking out in a hurry. At the beginning I could not figure it out, but later it sank in that it was an earthquake. What particularly made an impression were the mothers who wrapped their kids in duvets and ran out. Suddenly 1988 flashed in front of my eyes and when we were kids and our parents wrapped us in duvets and ran out in much the same way. This is the picture of my yard after the tremors.
Some families evacuate their apartments in Yerevan (Журнал настоящего армянина)

Some families evacuate their apartments in Yerevan (Журнал настоящего армянина)

Soon after, some speculated that the tremor felt in Yerevan might not have been that from the Van earthquake, but another likely triggered off by it. There were also concerns about the safety of the ageing Metsamor nuclear reactor.

@reporter_arm: this one was earthquake that we felt? emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/ear…

@kutkut16: @ditord what news about Metsamor NPP after the earthquake?

    @ditord: @kutkut16 Metsamor reactor is currently shut down for maintenence, but even if it were a powerful earthquake, the NPP is well protected

Concerns with the situation in Armenia soon gave way to updating followers on the situation in Van, re-tweeting updates from tweeps in Turkey. Later in the day, Tigran Balayan, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also tweeted updates as it pertained to Armenia and Armenians who might be resident or working in Turkey.

@tbalayan: President Sargsyan offered rescue assistance to earthquake hit Turkey president.am/events/news/en…

@tbalayan: According to the information available no #Armenian citizens among victims of #Turkey #earthquake.

Despite there being no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, the offer of assistance nonetheless resulted in the Prime Minister and President of Turkey thanking the Armenian President for his offer. However, at time of writing, an Armenian emergency rescue team still remains on standby.

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