There can be little doubt that disaster
preparedness saves lives. Before noon on Dec. 7. 1988, an earthquake measuring
6.9 on the Richter scale struck Soviet Armenia, killing at least 25,000
people according to official Soviet estimates. Less than one year later,
an earthquake of similar magnitude jolted San Francisco, California, shortly
before rush hour. However. this earthquake claimed fewer than 70 lives.
In Armenia, most of the victims died when their multi-story apartment buildings
crumbled and collapsed on them. These dwellings were not built in accordance