YEREVAN — The Armenian government appealed to citizens on Tuesday to help it clean up the country’s northern regions hit by devastating floods.

Flood waters inundated on Sunday dozens of towns of villages in the Lori and Tavush provinces, killing four people and causing extensive damage to local transport infrastructure. The government formally declared about a dozen of those settlements a disaster zone on Monday, allocating 300 million drams ($775,000) for urgent relief supplies to their residents.

Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Gnel Sanosyan said it now needs hundreds of volunteers to assist local authorities in their unfolding cleanup efforts.

“There seems to be no shortage of construction equipment, but in a number of areas only manual work is possible,” Sanosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “Inside buildings, their entrances, shops and other places there is a fairly thick layer of mud and damaged products that can be removed mainly by manual work.”

Education Minister Zhanna Andreasyan urged university students in Yerevan and other parts of the country to join in those efforts. She said “many” of them have already done so.

Some citizens volunteered to help the affected Lori and Tavush residents at their own initiative. Seyran Galstyan, a resident of a village in the Armavir province west of Yerevan, was in the Lori town of Alaverdi on Tuesday, shoveling mud from the stairwell of an apparent block flooded on Sunday.

Others collected donations and bought food for communities that remain cut off from the rest of the country because of severe damage to local roads and bridges. Anna Hovannisyan, a blogger based in Lori, said she bought food with 1 million drams ($2,500) raised on her Facebook page and delivered it to rescue workers communicating with stranded residents.

“Things are a bit chaotic,” she said. “There is no clearly regulated sequence of [government] steps, no lists and numbers of people in need. We’re using our own channels to try to ascertain … who needs what.”

The government has allocated MD 300 million to solve the urgent problems of the residents of the affected communities informed minister Sanosyan.

The minister also said that throughout the day he inspected the M6 interstate road to Ayrum train station. According to him, collapses of the road and bridges were fixed, and an inventory of the damages was made.

The supplies of water, natural gas and other utilities in Alaverdi and neighboring settlements was also discussed.

According to preliminary data of the authorities, the natural disaster claimed the lives of four people, 429 people were evacuated.

 

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