Prime Minister of Armenia Attends Opening of ADB-Supported Seismically Safe School

News Release | 16 September 2020

YEREVAN, ARMENIA (16 September 2020) — Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan yesterday attended the opening of Basic School No. 153 named after Rafael Ishkhanyan in Yerevan, Armenia. The newly renovated and seismically safe school is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Prime Minister Pashinyan congratulated school authorities and students on the reconstructed school at the ceremony where full precautionary measures were observed amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“The construction of these schools is a great step toward improving seismic safety of school buildings,” said ADB Senior Project Officer Gohar Mousaelyan. “They will ensure a safe and better learning environment for children in one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world. The program will also help schools develop disaster preparedness and response plans and update building codes so they are harmonized with international seismic safety standards. This will strengthen the country’s seismic disaster preparedness in the long-term.”

Since the massive Spitak earthquake in 1988, Armenia’s national authorities have taken numerous steps to develop emergency management and response systems and to improve building design and construction. 

The school is built according to international seismic safety standards with bright and comfortable classrooms. Ramps and elevators have been built to facilitate access for children and staff with disabilities. The school is also equipped with better facilities including a new gym, an events hall, a well-stocked library, and a solar energy system for hot water. The school building and premises can also be used as a shelter for the community and as a collection point for emergency response after earthquakes. 

The school is one of 46 that will be reconstructed or retrofitted under ADB’s School Seismic Safety Improvement Program in support of the Government of Armenia. The project focuses on building earthquake-resilient schools and scaling up Armenia’s capacity for responding to natural disasters.

Once complete, the program is estimated to benefit around 58,700 students, teachers, and other staff over the next two decades as well as over 87,000 residents living near the target schools, who will have access to improved temporary shelters during earthquakes. 

ADB’s assistance includes an $88.5 million loan from its concessional Asian Development Fund, and two technical assistance grants of $800,000 and $680,000. The government is providing counterpart support equivalent to $18.5 million. 

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.