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Armenian Flooding Victim: “It was an unnatural phenomenon”

On the evening of May 25, Susan Vardanyan, who lives in the Sanahin railway station district of Alaverdi, took her chickens and pigs to the henhouse and barn built on their land on the banks of the Debed River and went up to the apartment building next door.

At the time, the Debed hadn’t overrun its banks, the waters were calm. Although the building is on the bank of the river, it is on a higher level than the plot belonging to Susan Vardanyan's family, and the buildings built there.

At one in the morning, Mrs. Vardanyan woke up from the sound of rain and went down to the plot. Her dog, Jacko, was already half in the water when Mrs. Vardanyan opened the door to their house on the property. She quickly hugged the dog and took it out to the yard. The dog was trembling. He put his paws on his owner’s shoulders and did not want to be left alone.  

That night, Mrs. Vardanyan telephoned an in-law and said that the bridge connecting the two parts of the Sanahin station had collapsed, and she could not contact her father's family. Mrs. Vardanyan’s in-laws live opposite their house on the other bank of Debed. The 67-year-old woman says that on normal days they can shout to each other across the river. 

She remembers that on the night of May 26, in the pouring rain, she ran along the riverbank and called out to her in-laws, hoping they would hear her. But the noise of the overflowing river drowned out everything. She then asked a security patrol   to call her relatives with a bullhorn. Finally, the next morning, she received word her in-laws were alright.

The sun, that morning, broke through in spurts.  "It was so disgusting. It didn't light up at all," Mrs. Vardanyan recalls.

The waters reached the second floor of her house, washing away thirty chickens, fourteen pigs and 800,000 drams worth of construction material bought for the house last year. Mrs. Vardanyan says that they purchased the material last fall, after the May rains. They planned to repair the house so that one of her sons could move in. to live there. The flooding has washed away both her property and the upcoming projects.

Mrs. Vardanyan remembers that she entered their apartment on the afternoon of May 26.

"The overflow was an unnatural phenomenon. It was not possible with heavy rain alone,” Mrs. Vardanyan, who has been living in Alaverdi for more than forty years. “I've been a resident here for so many years and seen a lot of heavy rains, I don't believe that it was just a natural flood."

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