Remembering the Tragedy: 47 Years Since Bulgaria's Deadliest Earthquake

Society | March 4, 2024, Monday // 10:40|  views

Today, Bulgarians mark the anniversary of the nation's deadliest earthquake, the haunting memories of the catastrophic event that struck 47 years ago resurface, serving as a somber reminder of the profound impact natural disasters can have on communities.

On March 4, 1977, at 9:24 p.m., the earth trembled with unprecedented force as a powerful earthquake, measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale, struck Romania. The epicenter was located in Vrancea County, nestled within the Eastern Carpathians, with tremors reverberating across borders, profoundly affecting neighboring Bulgaria.

Lasting a terrifying 55 seconds, the earthquake unleashed devastation of unparalleled magnitude. In Romania, the toll was staggering, with 1,578 lives lost, predominantly in the capital city of Bucharest. The sheer force of the quake left 11,300 individuals injured, and nearly 33,000 buildings lay in ruins, rendering approximately 35,000 families homeless. The economic fallout was equally catastrophic, with losses totaling close to $2 billion.

In Bulgaria, the city of Svishtov bore the brunt of the disaster. The collapse of an eight-story residential block and the dormitory of the "Sviloza" chemical plant left a trail of destruction and despair. Tragically, 109 lives were claimed in Svishtov alone, as the merciless quake spared no mercy in its indiscriminate fury. Yet, amidst the rubble and chaos, acts of heroism emerged, as 31 individuals were miraculously rescued from the debris during intensive search and rescue operations.

For Bulgaria, the earthquake of March 4, 1977, stands as a grim milestone in the nation's history—a day etched in collective memory as the darkest chapter in its seismic past. As the years pass, the scars of the tragedy may fade, but the resilience of the survivors and the solemn remembrance of those lost remain steadfast.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Earthquake, anniversary, tragedy


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