Soviet Union Vision of Horror

As dazed Armenians struggle with death and despair, Gorbachev tries to ease the quake's impact on ethnic strife and an ailing economy

Only days ago, few people had heard of the town of Spitak, high in the Caucasus Mountains of northwest Soviet Armenia. But by last week it had become an international symbol of death and utter destruction, a place where the stench of corpses mingled with fading, desperate hopes that a voice, a whimper or a sigh might be heard from deep beneath the rubble. "A vision of horror," gasped a stunned Dr. Patrick Aeberhard, president of the French humanitarian aid group Medecins du Monde. An estimated 70% of the town's 20,000 population lies entombed, victims of the devastating earthquake that hit...

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