“20,600 apartments have been built in the last 22 years. Another year and 400 more families will have apartments”, Margaryan says.
Chair of Asparez Journalists’ Club Levon Barseghyan disagreed, pointing out there are about four thousand unhoused families in Gyumri.
President of Shirak Center NGO Vahan Tumasyan thinks that Armenia's three presidents with their governments are responsible for unhoused families. “I lost my hope Gyumri will ever be restored. The migrants will not come back soon”, Tumasyan says.
Levon Barseghyan brought some numbers: before the earthquake 221-234 thousand people lived in Gyumri, whereas the official census of October 2011 showed 121,500 people, though Barseghyan thinks the real number is lower. According to various data, number of schoolchildren in Gyumri before the earthquake was 52-56 thousands. Official data received by Barseghyan from Shirak regional administration a month ago reflected there are currently 14,500 schoolchildren in Gyumri.
Vahram Martirosyan, coordinator of the “Earthquake that shook the media” exhibition noted that real employment opportunities should be opened in Gyumri, whereas the government oligarchs invest money in opening new super- and hypermarkets, instead of creating opportunities for appropriate living conditions.
The discussion was held in “Style” gallery in Gyumri where “An Earthquake that shook the media” interactive exhibition was presented by Media Initiatives Centre’s “Lratun” project.
Head of A.D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Protection Center Shirak regional branch Seyran Martirosyan noted the positive role of the civil society in the disaster zone. “We paid a very high price but we have had an unprecedented development of civil society especially in the disaster zone. We positively differ in this from other regions of Armenia”, he said.