Remembering the 1969 Earthquake.

Banja Luka 1969 Earthquake

Banja Luka 1969 Earthquake.

Today, October 27th 2017, is a mild autumnal day here in the Western Balkans.

As I look out of the window there are partly cloudy skies, wonderful sun and a mild temperature of 15 Celsiuis.

Quite dreamy in a way.

On the morning of this day in 1969, the weather conditions couldn’t have been more different, with snow on the ground and the accompanying cold temperatures.

During the early morning, a devastating earthquake (magnitude of 6.4) hit Banja Luka, damaging the city and surrounding areas.

Banja Luka 1969 Earthquake
This severe earthquake killed 20, seriously injured 150, and left 65,000 homeless.

Banja Luka 1969 EarthquakeBanja Luka, back then was considerably smaller than now, with some 50,000 inhabitants.

60 percent of the dwellings were razed. Three neighbouring towns were destroyed. Among the major buildings razed by the shock were the city hall, cultural centre, 15 schools, and 5 dormitories.

To add to the chaos a textile factory damaged during the earthquake began leaking sulphuric acid and other chemicals, contaminating the river and water supply.

Banja Luka 1969 EarthquakeIn the entire area of destruction, a total of 86 thousand apartments, 266 schools and 592 cultural, health, social and business facilities, were partially damaged or completely destroyed.

It took quite sometime for Banja Luka to repair and rebuild.

For a better perspective, here’s a video playlist I have put together, that tells the story better than I could ever attempt.

From those 86,000 apartments that were destroyed, accommodation had to be found.

Temporary barrack type housing was built not too far from the city centre.

4 years ago, (again in October), I went to see what that area is like.

As I said, this post is being written in 2017.

We still get some quite large earth tremors.

Hopefully nature wont re-visit Banja Luka with such destruction again.

Banja Luka 1969 Earthquake