On Wednesday 7th December 1988 a devastating earthquake struck the Lori and Shirak districts of Northern Armenia. It is estimated that over 25,000 people died with thousands more injured.

Then president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, put the re-building of the regions into the care of Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov.

The immediate solution was to create makeshift housing from rail carts, cargo containers and scrap metal, for some 20,000 people that were left homeless in Gyumri. At the time, Premier Ryzhkov promised these would be temporary housing and that new buildings would be constructed.

Twenty two years later, thousands of people in the suburbs of Gyumri are still living in makeshift housing.