Earthquake Azerbaijan : 3,123 constructions damaged (a lot collapsed), 35 people slightly injured + new damage images

Earthquake overview : At 09:40 local time a Mb5.6 earthquake struck Zaqatala Azerbaijan, also close to Georgia and Dagestan. 10 hours later an almost similar earthquake or aftershock hit the area again. What initially was reported as minor damage soon became more serious.
"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Check also our Azerbaijan-only earthquake list

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Update 18/05 - 15:30 UTC :
Strong aftershock in Azerbaijan
Probably the second strongest aftershock so far after the M5.7 mainshock on May 7, 2012. Epicenter was also this time very close to Zagatala. The earthquake was felt as far as Tbilissi, Georgia.  We dot expect this aftershock to be very damaging, but minor damage on top of the already damaged houses is a real possibility. For earthquake details of this aftershock please click here.

At, we are once again irritated that almost nobody in the world has reported about this earthquake. 1 house cracked and a fallen chimney in a western capital seems to have more value than thousands of damaged houses in Azerbaijan. Selective reporting ? We have witnessed this situation over and over again and sometimes we feel the need to repeat it.

A totally collapsed house in the earthquake area - image courtesy

Update 10/05 - 08:59 UTC :
- Minister of Emergency Situations Kamaladdin Heydarov said to journalists on Thursday that the amount of money needed to repair and rebuild the damages communities may be higher than initially expected. If more money is needed, he said, more money will be reserved to accomplish this task.
- The number of earlier reported damaged constructions has increased considerably to 3123 (approx. 3000 houses and 123 state buildings like schools, social services etc). The assessment is continuing and the final outcome maybe even higher. A final count is expected within 3 or 4 days.
- Watching the degree of destruction in the villages, calls it a miracle that nobody was killed during this earthquake (although 1 newspaper was mentioning this without specifying any details). The number of injured is also very limited as we have counted 35 injured in total, but nobody serious. The most suitable explanation for the limited injured is that the earthquake occurred during the late morning hours when people are out of their houses.
- Medical staff and rescue teams are helping in the tented camps and are working in shifts to be present at all times.

Update 09/05 - 21:20 UTC :
- President Aliyev has visited today the earthquake damaged area. He met and talked with the homeless people. President Aliyev reiterated the relief effort of 20 million new Manats (24.5 million USD) in the initial phase in 2012, and the government has promised to rebuild and repair the area.
- The emergency services have started today with the repair and reconstruction of the hardest hit areas.
- Tents were distributed in the following villages : Zaqatala, Gözbarax, Zəyəm, Qımır, Çobankol, Bazar,  Qax, Güllü, Tasmalı, Ləkid, Zərnə and Lələpaşa.

Azeri President Aliyev visiting the earthquake damaged area - images courtesy and copyright APA

A US person with friends in Azerbaijan reports :
The epicenter was in our close friends hometown- where her family still lives.  She went to visit yesterday and said that everything is destroyed.  Emergency services came, set up tents- and then left.  She wonders if they will do anything else, because they are only a village. Maybe only a village- but to the families there, this is everything.

Important Update 08/05 - 16:05 UTC :
- The Zaqatala district emergency commission chairman Mr. Elman Ramazanow has given more precise numbers on the damage of the double earthquake and aftershocks.  This is an intermediate report with data collected in more than 24 hours. Based on the limited area of the damage and our experience following earthquake events, we assume that these numbers may only increase slightly
- 274 houses, stables and other constructions have collapsed
- 2,052 houses have slight damage (cracks, partially collapsed walls etc)
- 100 social facilities  are showing cracks
- the emergency relief devision of the government has erected 500 tents  in a number of hard hit villages and 1,050 families have been allocated to these tenting camps. Another 500 tents will be erected today, which bring the total to 1,000.
- 1,276 families found temporarily shelter in the houses of relatives
- The central government of Azerbaijan has reserved 20 million Manat (24.5 million US$) for reconstruction aid

Update 08/05 - 13:12 UTC :
- some villages in the direct earthquake area remain without electricity
- government officials have told the press that rebuilding and repair of the damaged houses will start as soon as tomorrow

Update 08/05 - 08:47 UTC : The map below  gives an overview of both epicenters (M5.6 initial earthquake and M5.5 aftershock). The epicenters are the yellow bullets. The red bullets are the hardest hit localities (ie Muxax, Zəyəm, Çobankol, Bazar, Gözbarax). Most severely damaged villages are located in the foothills of the mountains. Zaqatala is in the upper left corner of the map.

Map created by

Update 08/05 - 07:24 UTC :
- Tents had to be erected as people cannot enter their damaged houses.  More than 300 people have been given a tent for this reason.
- It is currently raining very heavy in the earthquake area, which is an additional burden for SAR and relief personnel.  A lot of people who did fear aftershocks have spend the night in open air (Min. temperatures are about 10°C).
- Official communication goes by the Ministry of Emergencies led by Mr. Heydarov.  There are no official reports since yesterday noon about the number of hospitalized. Mr. Heydarov is currently visiting the earthquake area again and a new official press report can be expected soon.
- 35 people have been treated for minor injuries in hospitals and polyclinics and have been send home after receiving the proper treatment.
- Most of the damage was inflicted in approx. 20 villages in the Zaqatala district including Muxa, Zayam, Cobankol, Qımır, Mamrıx and Gozbarax
- Schools in the area have been closed until further notice.
- About 20 weaker aftershocks have been recorded in between midnight and 08:00 AM today.
- At the end of the month, the Eurovision songfestival will be held in Baku, the capital. The festival is extremely important for this country and the leaders as well as the population are proud to be the host. Azerbaijan did won the contest last year.  Baku is far away from the present earthquake epicenter and there is no reason to believe that any related strong earthquake will take place in this area, however it has to be said that also Baku is located in a greater fault area. On November 25, 2000 a Ms7.0 earthquake left 26 people dead . the epicenter of that quake was located 25 km to the South South East of Baku in the Caspian sea. 80 buildings were severely damaged. As a result of this earthquake, the Azeri authorities only allow new constructed buildings to have 9 floors.

Update 08/05 - 06:18 UTC :
- The village of Aliabad has been severely damaged. A lot of people in the most hit villages have spend the night in tents.

Update 18:17 UTC : Video from a local TV station showing the damage and interviews with a military responsible inspecting the damaged area and earthquake victims (Language Azerbaijan)

Update 17:34 UTC : 35 minutes ago a new M4.9 moderate aftershock struck the area. This is the 3th strongest today.

Update 17:28 UTC : The authorities have decided to supply tents to the homeless in Zaqatala, probably too late as the night has almost fallen.

Update 17:13 UTC : The damage and destruction are looking to be bigger than previously reported. In Zaqatala, at least 60 houses are seriously damaged. Most of them have collapsed walls. People are too afraid to return to their houses and will probably spend the night in the streets or in the fields.  We have heard no news of tents to give shelter to those living in the damaged houses or those wanting to stay away from their house. Most older buildings in the area are made of brick and are not earthquake resistant which increases the chance of damage or even destruction. For those who are not convinced that the damage is considerable, please take a look at the pictures of this Azerbaijan website.

Update 16:53 UTC : 2 people have been rescued by SAR teams from a seriously damaged  house in Gulbarax, this after the latest strong aftershock. Some injured have been taken for treatment to hospitals, but none of them was seriously injured. The strong aftershock is responsible for damage to some buildings in Zaqatala (Zagatala).

Zagatala, Azerbaijan, very close to the epicenter - image Panoramio

Update 15:20 UTC : Aftershocks are continuing to strike the area. Most of these aftershocks are only felt in the direct area of the epicenter. The weather outlook in the area can be called mixed. Temperatures are 11 (min) to 222 (max), but rain has been forecast for today and tomorrow.

This morning earthquake damage : 3 villages were the hardest hit with many older houses seriously damaged. The 3 villages are all located in the Zagatala area. From earlier reports we know that they are : Azar, Zayam and Gymyr. Luckily no fatalities though.

Update 15:16 UTC : Azerbaijan media are talking about a M5.3 earthquake with an intensity of MMI 6 to 6.5 (local scale which is comparable with the MMI scale). Both USGS and EMSC are reporting a 5.5 or 5.6 earthquake at a depth of approx. 11 km. Both agencies are locating the epicenter at 10 km from Zagatala versus 17 km this morning. Reports from our readers living in the greater earthquake area are somewhat conflicting. Some are talking about a short shaking which was considerably weaker than this morning, others are reporting higher "Felt it" values. We reiterate that Zagatala is an important regional city with 18,277 inhabitants.  A gas pipeline is crossing the area.

Update 15:02 UTC : 68,000 people are reported to have experienced a very strong shaking. does not think on many injured or fatalities because most people will have been staying on the streets as the area has been struck by tens of aftershocks since this morning. Potential damage is likely to have happened.
145,000 people will have felt a strong shaking. This mornings earthquake was reported as a max.  MMI VI (strong shaking) versus MMI VII this afternoon. As older houses were already damaged this morning, some unstable walls may have succumbed under the shaking.

Important Update 14:57 UTC : Another powerful earthquake (aftershock) occurred at 14:15 UTC. We are currently collecting more information. This earthquake looks even more dangerous than the first one as the epicenter is closer to Zagatala (preliminary data from USGS).

Example of the destruction during this earthquake - image courtesy APA

Update 13:25 UTC : From the time of the mainshock until this update, the epicenter area has been shaken by at least 80 aftershocks, a lot of them only recorded by instruments and not felt by the population.  The south side of the Caucasus ( including the Zagatala area) is known as a seismically active zone. The last massive earthquake in this area dates from 1936 when a Magnitude 7 earthquake struck the area

Update 10:55 UTC : Azerbaijan news agency APA reports that no problem was detected in the delivery of power, water, gas and communication in Zagatala. Roads in or near Zagatala were not disrupted. The International Bus Terminal told that buses move in direction of Zagatala in accordance with the schedule, no closures of any part of the motor way was recorded so far: ‘No problem is observed in arrival and departure of vehicles’.
Nearly 20 persons arrived at the hospital with different injuries, but none of them were operated or placed at the resuscitation ward. They were given first aid and sent home.
We remind our readers that this report focuses on Zagatala, very close to the epicenter, but not above the epicenter. We will need 4 to 8 hours more for a final update of the direct epicenter area.
More pictures of the damage can be found here.

Update 09:59 UTC :   According to the Seismological Service of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the Magnitude of the earthquake was 5.7 at a depth of 11 km. Following the same agency, the epicenter was located at 17 km from Zagatala (below also called Zaqatala). The gas pipeline linking Baku - Tbilisi and Ceyhan have not been affected by the earthquake

Update 09:15 UTC : From the Azerbaijani side of the border, there are reports of destroyed houses and at least 15 people have been treated for injuries so far, mainly due to panic while fleeing the houses. The hardest hit villages at the Azerbaijani side are Azar, Zayam and Gymyr

Update 09:06 UTC : also fears for damage and possibly injuries in the smaller mountain villages of the area, especially rockfall and landslides. These villages are only visited many hours after the earthquake.  Nobody has reported yet on the conditions right at the epicenter, as this area is populated too! It looks like farming soil with a couple of hundred houses (prevailing the preliminary epicenter location is right)

Update 08:43 UTC :  As we have feared, this earthquake tends to be more dangerous than the numbers would make out.  Local Georgia and Azerbaijani press reports are reporting not only damage in houses and schools (merely cracks) but also injured people. In the meantime aftershocks are terrorizing the local Caucasus population with so far at least 3 aftershocks above M4.

Yellow area : strong shaking) - greenish area : moderate shaking

Update 07:43 UTC : fears that the damage as a result of this earthquake may be bigger than initially expected. In Georgia alone (EMSC and USGS are maintaining the epicenter in Azerbaijan) many houses have slight damage.  We expect more detailed news within 2 to 4 hours.
We will start an in-depth article as the results of this earthquake will be probably beyond the scope of this page.

Update 06:41 UTC :  Russian authorities are reporting a Magnitude of 5.8. The earthquake was also felt in Dagestan . People in the epicenter area have fled on the streets and remain there until further notice out of fear for aftershocks.

Update 05:41 UTC : Following other sources, the epicenter should be at the Georgian side of the border, 1 km from the village of Zemo Kedi and 22 kilometers from the city Dedoplistskaro (Kakheti region). 2 aftershocks are felt so far. The aftershocks are in the 4 to 5 range, enough to frighten the people from the epicenter area even more

Zaqatala epicenter area (Caucasus) - image courtesy Sabit Tagiyev

154,000 people may have experienced a strong shaking, enough to create a damaging earthquake. Similar magnitude earthquakes had few fatalities, but we would not be surprised that damage is inflicted.
Closest communities are Zaqatala (pop. 18,277) and Cinarly (pop. 6,508).
EMSC reports a Magnitude of 5.5 at a depth of 10 km.
296,000 people have experienced a moderate shaking and nearly 3 million people a light shaking.
Cities who have experienced a strong shaking are : Aliabad (9000 people), Zaqatala (18277 people) and Qax (12000 people).
The area where the earthquake happened was a 3-country area. The epicenter is close to Russia and Georgia. Armenia is at a considerable distance
WAPMERR, an organization specialized in theoretical calculation of possible casualties reports, expects 5 to 40 people to be injured and 0 to 5 people to be killed. WAPMERR's calculations are based on present and past data. GOOGLE+ / FACEBOOK
"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : Mb 5.6
UTC Time : Monday, May 07, 2012 at 04:40:29 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday, May 07, 2012 at 09:40:29 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 23.3 km
Geo-location(s) :
14 km (8 miles) SE of Zaqatala (Zakataly), Azerbaijan
101 km (62 miles) NNE of Ganca (Kirovabad), Azerbaijan
114 km (70 miles) ESE of T'elavi, Georgia
291 km (180 miles) WNW of BAKU, Azerbaijan

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
 Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
 Historic earthquakes map
 Seismic hazard map
 Shaking map
 Focal mechanism report
 Human impact map
 GDACS earthquake report

We call upon people living in the area or who have families in the area, to write down what they have experienced as it is very difficult to get a precise image of what happened (an earthquake is more than Magnitude and depth numbers alone). Мы призываем людей, живущих в этом районе или у кого есть семьи в области, чтобы записать то, что они пережили, как это очень трудно получитьточное изображение того, что произошло (землетрясение более чемМасштабы и глубина номера в одиночку)


I Have Felt this earthquake

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 18:49 3.8 10 MAP
EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 18:18 3.8 10 MAP
  • Ucar,Azerbaijan - Very strong earthquake.
  • EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 17:49 3.6 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 17:08 3.7 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 17:04 3.9 10 MAP
    USGS Azerbaijan May 07 16:58 4.4 19 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 15:48 3.7 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 14:51 4.0 0 MAP
    USGS Azerbaijan May 07 14:36 4.0 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 14:36 3.9 8 MAP
    USGS Azerbaijan May 07 14:15 5.3 11 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 14:15 5.5 10 MAP
  • tbilisi - thank u earthquake. U woke me up this morning .. Coz of u i went to college on time ..
  • Tbilisi - estaba sentada y de repente sentí un temblor, que me ha mareado
  • Sheki, Azerbaijan - Earthquake this morning with house shaking slightly and boards creaking. Another one a few minutes ago which was weaker and very short duration.
  • Tbilisi - 18.30 im Zentrum von Tbilisi in einem altem Haus 3. Beben am heutigen 7.5.2012
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - The bed and side table shook for a few seconds, enough for my cat and dog who were both fast asleep and usually too lazy to move, to both suddenly jump up from the bed and chair and stand in the middle of the room looking at each other. After 20seconds or so they both resumed their normal position. I also felt a slight tremor yesterday whilst at the market, and one more (very slight) about 30minutes ago. I'm a geography teacher so I'm very interested in earthquakes. Slight crack in house too
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - Moderate shaking indicated
  • Tbilisi - Light shaking indicated
  • USGS Azerbaijan May 07 08:36 4.2 21 MAP
  • Ucar,Azerbaijan - This earthquake strong.
  • EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 08:36 4.1 2 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 08:27 3.7 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 05:40 4.4 10 MAP
    USGS Azerbaijan May 07 05:38 4.6 14 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 05:27 3.8 10 MAP
    EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 05:08 4.0 10 MAP
    USGS Azerbaijan May 07 04:40 5.6 23 MAP
  • Armenia, Gyumri - Very weak shaking in Armenia
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - Light shaking indicated
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - The plaster in my school was damages (source EMSC)
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - Shaking lasted for 10 seconds or so. Refrigerator and closet doors swayed. (source EMSC)
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - I have a lot of experience from Japan of earthquakes. I am now in an old building in Tbilisi and it was very shakey, hard to stand (source EMSC)
  • Georgia - I had trouble sleeping all night the night before. When it hit this morning, it felt like a quick dip and then a sway. It was very brief compared to my last experience in Christ Church, NZ February 2011. A cat was crying and ran to its owner as i walked around our building to survey its condition, which seemed to be fine. (source EMSC)
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - Light shaking indicated
  • Tiblisi, Georgia - Very weak shaking reported
  • Armenia - Very weak shaking
  • EMSC Azerbaijan May 07 04:40 5.6 10 MAP
  • Zaqatala, Azerbaijan - The epicenter was in our close friends hometown- where her family still lives. She went to visit yesterday and said that everything is destroyed. Emergency services came, set up tents- and then left. She wonders if they will do anything else, because they are only a village. Maybe only a village- but to the families there, this is everything.
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    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
    * mandatory fields


    1. Telnaz says

      Its really shame it has been 1 week now since Earthquake happend but still no any country talking about.
      When there is any natural disaster around the world Azerbaijan runs after it but for its own problem nobody cares....hope people will get help which they deserve but as of my information it doesnt seem all suffered people will have what they deserve. Hope the government will help people instead of wasting money for flower day or Eurovision which we dont really need...we need freedom democracy not Eurovision...

    2. I find it's absolutely shameful that there is hardly any coverage of this significant quake in the western media.
      Well done earthquake report people to point this out!!
      It shows again the still existing separation amongst people and nations. A long way to go still until a true sense of Unity is achieved...
      Personally I've been in both major Christchurch quakes ( right at the epicenter the 2nd time) and since then follow any quake coverage around the world and of course can now truly relate to what it means for the people involved...

      Chris-Tian RA