Over the last few decades, urbanization and changing climactic conditions have led to economic losses in Armenia. From 1994–2014, Armenia lost well over $1.5 billion due to natural hazards like floods, earthquakes, and drought. 90% of losses from natural disasters in Armenia are linked to severe weather events (for more information see links below to source).
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Droughts cause significant damage to the country. The most severe drought among recent events was in 2000 and affected approximately 300,000 people.
According to the National Survey for Seismic Protection, (NSSP), there are on average 15 earth tremors per month in Armenia.
Although the entire country is theoretically susceptible to earthquakes, previous major occurrences have been limited to the northern (Spitak 1988) and southern (Syunik late 60s) regions. The official earthquake hazard map for Armenia identifies most major centers of population to be located in Very High or High hazard areas. A major earthquake in Yerevan could result in very high numbers of casualties; the building constructions are not always earthquake-proof.
NSSP is responsible for monitoring all seismic activity and is able to produce damage and casualty assessments for all settlements in Armenia that might be affected by earthquake.
Flooding is among the natural disaster risks that Armenia may have. Although Armenia does not have abundant flowing surface water, more than 50 percent of annual discharge occurs during spring due to snow melting. This can increase water volume in some river basins tenfold, and can also trigger seasonal flooding, particularly in the Araks, Hrazdan, and Aghstev river basins (World Bank 2009).
Armenia is also prone to landslides that can be secondary effects of earthquakes or heavy precipitation.
High Waves / Surges
The degree and effect of civil unrest following, for example, a negatively perceived settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue or a worsening economic situation is hard to predict.
For this assessment, it has been decided to consider it a nation-wide problem.
Internally Displaced Persons
During the conflict with Azerbaijan the international community provided support to 350,000 Armenian refugees from Armenian areas near the border with Azerbaijan, Karabakh itself, ethnic Armenians living in Baku and, to some extent, other towns in Azerbaijan. It also provided support to 500,000 Azeri refugees in Karabakh.
Landmines / UXO Present
The country’s sole nuclear power station is located at METZAMOR, approximately 30 km west of Yerevan. According to an official assessment, a major contamination threat following an accident could result in up to 180,000 of the population of a surrounding area within a radius of 16 km being affected. Seismic activity in the area is monitored continuously by NSSP. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the nuclear power plant is located in an area identified as a High-risk hazard for earthquake probability.
For a more information please see the following links:
World Bank Document on Disaster Risk Finance Country Note: Armenia 2017
Armenia Climate Risk Profile
Seasonal Effects on Transport
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Primary Road Transport
From October to March
The northern and southern parts of the country, which provide the sole communication routes to Georgia and Iran are mountainous with many winding passes.
Weather conditions in these areas during the winter months (late October to the end of March) can result in difficult vehicular traffic, with snow, ice and fog common on high passes.
Secondary Road Transport
Armenia is located in subtropics, however, because of the high-mountainous character the climate here is rather dry continental with hot summers (average temperature +25 С) and cold winters (average temperature -6C). Due to snowfalls, there are usually problems with traffic during Autumn-Winter months in the Primary Roads.
Rep. of Armenia legislation provides regulatory coverage of around 80% of disaster management sphere.
RA laws "On Protecting Population in Emergencies", "On Fire Safety", "On Hydro-Meteorological Activity", "On Seismic Protection", "On Civil Protection", "On State Regulation for Technical Safety", "On Armenian Rescue Service" and "On Units of Civil Protection" providing regulation for the sphere and numerous other relevant laws have been adopted. (see: www.laws.am) Disaster management sphere is also regulated at sub-legislative level: several hundreds of Government and Prime-Ministerial Decrees and Orders of the heads of other agencies are in effect. At present, according to the Laws "On Protecting Population in Emergencies", "On Civil Protection" and other laws of RA, the disaster management system includes state government agencies, local governments and organizations.
The authorities of ministries and other agencies are clearly specified at legislative and sub legislative levels, both in general terms and in relation to specific phenomena causing potential emergencies.
The legislation of RA specifies the competences of the republican authorized executive agency in the sphere of emergencies: The Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) and the powers of its subordinate agencies. This provides an almost full coverage of the framework for emergency prevention, mitigation and recovery.
The activities and powers of regional authorities are fully and clearly specified. For prompt and efficient emergency management, mitigation and recovery, the right to give direct instructions to regional sub-divisions of republican executive agencies has been reserved to regional authorities by laws and sub legislation acts.
The diagram below demonstrates that the united system of disaster management (DM) includes republican and regional government agencies, local self-government bodies, enterprises, institutions and organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations. The main purpose of the system is protection of population in the whole country through legal and organizational complex activities.
For more information on Armenia Government and Humanitarian capacity for emergency response, please see the following document: Armenia Capacity for In-Country Emergency Response
For information on Armenia Government Contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Armenia Government Contact List
UNDP Disaster Management Team (DMT) co-chairs Donor Coordination group on disaster management with the Ministry of Emergency Situations since 2008; as of March 2009, this group was merged with the Disaster Management Team (DMT), chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and comprising of all UN agencies, Ministry of ES /Rescue Service, Armenian Red Cross, interested donor agencies and international and local NGOs.
While the focus of the DMT is on disaster preparedness and response, it also provides room for programmatic discussions, and thus is considered the only coordination and information exchange forum in the area of disaster management. Cooperation Agreement between ARS and the UN DMT signed in October 2007 on defining roles and responsibilities of both UN DMT and the ARS in two phases: preparedness and actual emergency.