A bridge near the town of Akhtala destroyed by floods, May 30, 2024

Armenia to Seek Foreign Aid for Post-Flood Reconstruction

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YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am) — The government indicated on Thursday, May 30, that it will ask foreign states and international donors to help it rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure in Armenia’s northern regions devastated by weekend floods.

Rivers flowing through the Tavush and Lori provinces burst their banks early on Sunday, May 25, killing four people, flooding towns and villages located along them and severely damaging local infrastructure. It was the country’s worst flooding in decades.

A road in Lori damaged by floods, May 27, 2024

“The scale of the disaster is huge,” Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Gnel Sanosyan said during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

Sanosyan, who heads a government task force dealing with the aftermath of the disaster, said the resulting material damage is so extensive that authorities are still calculating it. He singled out the full or partial destruction of about 20 bridges located in the area.

“I think that we should ask our [international] partners to provide concrete assistance, especially in the field of bridge construction,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan noted in response.

Both Pashinyan and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that some of those partners have already expressed readiness to assist Armenia in the post-flood reconstruction.

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“We need to clarify as quickly as possible what exactly we expect from international partners,” Mirzoyan said, urging Sanosyan’s ministry to come up with relevant proposals.

Two of the destroyed bridges connected the Lori town of Akhtala and six nearby villages to the rest of the country. Those communities remained largely cut off from the outside world on Thursday. Rescue workers supplied their residents with food and other basic necessities through a local forest.

The floods also seriously damaged many sections of the two national highways leading to Armenia’s main border crossing with Georgia. In Sanosyan’s words, both roads are now barely passable after emergency repairs carried out in recent days.

The damage was particularly severe to the M6 highway that runs parallel to the sole railway connecting Armenia to Georgia. More than two kilometers of rail track there was reportedly washed away by flood waters. According to Pashinyan, Russia’s national railway company, which manages the Armenian railway network, has promised to rebuild the damaged sections “in the shortest possible time.”

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