Children Continue Living in Condemned Sevan Building

12:33, 8 July, 2011

The sign on the window is a warning for people not to enter the building.

Put up by the Sevan Municipality, it reads – "Danger. Building on the Verge of Collapse"

The building, located at 36 Nalbandyan Street, is also home to ten children.

The four story structure, built back in the 1960s, was evaluated by construction engineers with the "YerevanNakhagitz" company as dangerous. The walls are crumbling and there are structural weak points as well.

The company found that apartments on first floor above entrance #2 were particularly unstable and advised that residents be relocated.

Specialists at the company say that it will take around 30 million AMD to reinforce the building to a minimally safe level. The Sevan Municipality just doesn't have the funds to launch such a project.

Instead, the town has advised residents to relocate into the building housing the local music school.

Marieta Nikoghosyan, a resident in the condemned building, told us that her neighbours are refusing to leave because there are no washing and toilet facilities at the school.

"Even the windows are busted," Marieta said.

She added that many had already left to stay with relatives and that only she and others with no place to go have remained behind.

I telephoned the Sevan Municipality for some answers. When the receptionist found out I was a reporter she told me to call back in 30 minutes – the mayor was busy hosting guests.

I called back and was told to call again in ten minutes. I did as directed. After this run around, the receptionist informed me that the mayor couldn't answer my questions. Who else was authorized to speak to me, I queried. "Only the deputy mayor," was the receptionist's reply. "But he's indisposed as well."

Building residents have gone to their MP, Hrant Madetyan, for help.

"I'm taking care of it personally. Those are my people, my voters," MP Madetyan told me.

The MP said that he had informed the Minister of Urban Development about the problem and was waiting for an answer.

The legislator assured me that the earliest a budget disbursement request could be made would be in the autumn.

When I asked if residents could be relocated to somewhere more habitable than the music school, MP Madetyan replied, "Where else is there? I've talked to the mayor of Sevan and he assures me there are no unoccupied residential sites in the town.

Residents of 36 Nalbandyan are now requesting the assistance of President Sargsyan. They've sent a letter to the head of state asking that he personally intervene.

"We are writing you because the Sevan Municipality has not responded to our numerous requests," reads the letter to the president.