YEREVAN (Armenpress–Lraper)–An Armenian cargo plane carrying drugs–blankets and 4 power generators as humanitarian aid to Turkey’s earthquake survivors flew to Istanbul from Yerevan Friday. The Armenian delegation was led by the head of the emergency department–general-major Vyacheslav Harutunian.
At Istanbul airport the delegation was met by the ambassador on special tasks Tefik Okyayuze–who coordinates all the issues concerning the disaster–Istanbul’s deputy governor Gultekin Unlay–the Armenian permanent representative in Black Sea Economic Cooperation S. Ozararat–other officials and journalists from Turkish newspapers and TV companies.
During the press conference at the airport general-major Harutunian said that countries like Greece–Turkey and Armenia are situated in seismically active zones and such problems can be solved only by cooperation. "Human’sm is boundless. We survived the same tragedy in 1988 and we understand your pain," he said.
Armenian delegation met with the Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan of Istanbul and All Turkey. Turkey’s president Suleyman Demirel asked Ozararat to thank Armenian president Robert Kocharian for the humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile–the Chancellery of the Armenian Patriarchate asked Armenian press organs on Friday to be precise in their reports dealing with the state of the Armenian community in Istanbul following the Marmara Earthquake and not to exaggerate the numbers.
The head of the Statistics Desk at the Patriarchate–Sona Guzelyan–confirmed that 27 Armenia’s had lost their lives between August 17 and 27–six of them died in Izmit and Cinarcik under the rubbles–and five in Istanbul of heart attack–and the rest due to other health reasons.
The Armenian Patriarchate has also provided ministry to the families of 12 German Evangelical and 3 British victims who had lost their lives in the earthquake and whose remains have been sent to their home countries without delays.
There is no precise information on Armenian casualties in Izmit–Adapazari–Yalova and Cinarcik where many are thought to be buried beneath the rubble of thousands of houses. None of the Armenian churches in Istanbul have collapsed–but nine of them are damaged and expensive projects of repair must be implemented.
The Armenian Patriarchate has pledged to underwrite the costs of education of the two children of Zaven-Khatchig and Veronic Melkonyan who died beneath the rubble in Cinarcik.
The roofs of two schools–in Kumkapi and Samatya–are already under renovation. Two historic belfries have developed hazardous fissures. The Patriarchate’s third floor is visibly deformed–new cracks in the walls have developed–along one of the walls a large fissure has penetrated to the inside.
The third floor of the Patriarchate building has leaned some 15 to 18 centimeters towards the backyard and needs to be reinforced and renovated.
The Armenian communities in Europe and the Americas have been asked to help the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul financially–so that this historic hierarchical center can continue to provide relief to the earthquake-stricken area–along with other sister churches–and can also repair–reinforce and renovate the Patriarchate and the churches which fall under her jurisdiction.