Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, October 7 / Trend H. Hasanov /
About 176,000 people (of 198,000 people living in Ashgabat that period) became victims of earthquake in Ashgabat in 1948, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, national TV channel Altyn Asyr said.
Turkmen people have recently reminded tragic events of autumn 1948 by paying tribute to victims' memory of destroying Ashgabat's earthquake. This earthquake was one of the most catastrophic natural disasters of 20 century. Information about the number of human losses was classified as secret during USSR. It was reported about 110,000 people died as a result of earthquake after Turkmenistan acquired independence.
"One of the most powerful earthquakes in the world occurred in Ashgabat and its surroundings on October 6, 1948 at 1:12. There was earthquake measuring 10 on the Richter scale. Natural disaster was severe test for Turkmen people and razed to the ground the city with 198,000 people for 15-20 seconds," Berdymukhamedov said.
He said that catastrophic earthquake destroyed about 40 villages situated 50 kilometers of Ashgabat. Houses, schools, plants, factories, hospitals, institutes, museums and historical-cultural monuments turned into ruin in a split second.
"About 176,000 people suffered as a result of Ashgabat's earthquake," Turkmen President said.
Survived Turkmen people fought bravely with the consequences of the brutal elements. They were not panic-stricken and kept morale. They struggled to save their relatives, neighbors and countrymen, buried under the rubble of buildings. Doctors bravely operated assisting the wounded. Many people were saved with courage and fearlessness.
Berdymukhamedov said that a lot of doctors and medical employees immediately arrived in Ashgabat from all parts of the former Soviet Union.
People got food, medicines, clothes, shoes and other essentials. Medical institutions of the former USSR, motels and pioneer camps placed thousands of victims - children and adults. All neighboring states, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and others participated to remove consequences of the earthquake.
"We will always remember our fellow countrymen died as a result of earthquake", the president said. He stressed that scholarly and literary works, films and documentaries, performances, and international scientific conferences are devoted to this tragedy. There are hundreds of documents in the Turkmen National Archive Fund testifying consequences of this terrible disaster.
National day of memorial, declared in Turkmenistan as non-working was included in the list of days celebrated in the country in memory of victims of Ashgabat's earthquake of 1948.
State flags are lowered all over the country, as well as in Turkmen offices abroad.
Funeral rites and service are held in mosques and churches.
A memorial was placed in the center of Ashgabat. Thousands of people come here annually on Oct. 6.
Years passed, and thanks to the courage, bravery, inspiration and hard work of the solidarity of the Turkmen people of Ashgabat is not just risen from the ruins.
Today, the capital of independent neutral Turkmenistan has turned into a beautiful city with white marble like a true pearl of the East. It is recognized peacekeeping center in the region, Berdymukhamedov said.
Hundreds of original buildings, architectural complexes, including homes, schools, theaters, libraries, museums and sports facilities have been constructed in the era of Ashgabat's independence. New roads have been constructed.