ALL THE HOSPITALS in the area were destroyed and 80% of all medical personnel were killed or injured when the strongest earthquake in more than 80 years struck northern Soviet Armenia six weeks ago. The world response to the medical emergency that began on Dec 7 in Spitak, Kirovakan, Leninakan, and other towns and villages near the epicenter of the quake—at least 130 000 persons injured, 5400 of them extricated from debris, and up to 700 000 homeless—added one more chapter to the 20th-century history of nation helping nation in the event of disaster.
At the same time, it marked the first occasion since World War II that the Soviet Union has accepted disaster assistance provided by the US government. The Agency for International Development's (AID) Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) went into action immediately. On Dec 10, six OFDA representatives flew from Dulles Airport near Washington, DC,