Montenegro, Serbia Montenegro 1979 (CAR)

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Event ID
197904150619
Event name
Montenegro, Serbia
Country
Montenegro
Region in the country
Adriatic Coast
World region
Europe
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(19.15 42)
WKT GIS format
GEMECD contributing partner
CAR
Event narrative

On Sunday 15th April 1979, at 07:19 local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 6.9 and focal depth of 15 km struck the coastal areas of southern Yugoslavia.

The main shock’s epicentre (42.00°N, 19.15°E) was in the Adriatic Sea but very near the shores and between the ancient coastal towns of Bar and Ulcinj in today’s independent nation of Montenegro.

In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 236,000 people were exposed to intensity VII or higher, of which around 40% were in rural areas.

This thrust fault earthquake caused extended damage in Montenegro and in the northern counties of Albania, especially along the Adriatic coast.

Further damage occurred during the strongest aftershock of magnitude 6 on May 24, 1979. From the aftershocks distribution it has been inferred that the fault rupture extended between the towns of Budva and Ulcinj in Montenegro with orientation parallel to the coast.

Recorded peak ground accelerations during the main shock were high along a considerable length of the coast (around 0.45 g at Petrovac, Bar and Ulcinj) but decreased significantly inland.

Date of occurrence (UTC)
1979-04-15
date
Time of occurrence (UTC)
06:19:00
time
Date of occurrence (local)
1979-04-15
date
Time of occurrence (local)
07:19:00
time
Day of the week (local)
Sunday
was it a holiday
Yes
boolean
Magnitude
6.9
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)
Focal depth
15
km
Seismological data: source
USGS
Seismological data: comment

ShakeMap Atlas

Overall impact

Ninety-four people were killed in Montenegro and 35 more in Albania (in Shkodër and Lezhë counties), while the injured reached 1172 and 382, respectively.

After the earthquake, 100,000 people were left homeless (of which 20% were in Albania). Damage was also significant in coastal areas of southern Croatia (particularly in the old city of Dubrovnik) and in southwestern districts of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Damage surveys of circa 58,000 buildings in the affected areas of Montenegro (6 coastal and 6 inland municipalities) showed that worst affected was Ulcinj municipality with 47% of its building stock classified as collapsed or destroyed, followed by the municipality of Bar (37%).

Severely affected were also the municipalities of Budvar, Kotor and Cetinje (all three lost circa 22% of their building stock). In total almost 15,000 buildings were destroyed (16% of which in Albania) and another 25,000 were damaged (49% of which in Albania and 4% in Croatia).

Damage to historic buildings and other heritage sites of Montenegro was particularly serious, with over 1600 cultural monuments being affected as well 33,000 of works of art and valuable collections. The old towns of Ulcinj, Bar, Budva, Kotor, and Herceg-Novi were so badly damaged that their entire artistic contents had to be rescued and stored elsewhere, while the old towns of Budva, Ulcinj and most of Kotor were entirely evacuated as they were in a highly dangerous condition.

The cost of the earthquake according to the Yugoslav government’s final estimate was 4 billion US$ including 275 million US$ indirect losses (7.5% of Yugoslavia’s GDP in 1979).

Overview data
Loss: Human Casualty
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People injured
1546
number
People injured: source
UNDP/UNIDO Project (1985). Appendix A: Presentation and cumulative damage and observed vulnerability in the Montenegro earthquake of April 15, 1979 in Yugoslavia. UNDP/UNIDO Project Rep/79/015.
People injured: comment

1,172 people were slightly or seriously injured in Montenegro, most of whom were in the communes of Bar, Ulcinj and Kotor. In addition 374 were injured in Albania, most of whom were in the territory of Skadar.


People seriously injured: status
N/A

People missing
0
number

People killed
129
number
People killed: source
UNDP/UNIDO Project (1985). Appendix A: Presentation and cumulative damage and observed vulnerability in the Montenegro earthquake of April 15, 1979 in Yugoslavia. UNDP/UNIDO Project Rep/79/015.
People killed: comment

94 people were killed in the Montenegro coastal areas and 35 were killed in the territory of Skadar (Albania).


Loss: Building damage
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Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking
14953
number
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: source
Petrovski, J. (1990). Building Damage Classification and Loss Assessment. UNIDO-UNDP/OPS (1990): Cooperative Project for Seismic Risk Reduction in the Mediterranean Region (RER/87/022) SEISMED.
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: comment

12540 in Montenegro's 12 affected municipalities & 2413 in Albania. No data for Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

UNDP, 2003, Disaster Risk Assessment in Albania, suggests 17,122 destroyed buildings presumably for the whole event incl. Montenegro and Albania.


Number of buildings damaged by shaking
25117
number
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: source
Petrovski, J. (1990). Building Damage Classification and Loss Assessment. UNIDO-UNDP/OPS (1990): Cooperative Project for Seismic Risk Reduction in the Mediterranean Region (RER/87/022) SEISMED.
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: comment

11773 in Montenegro's 12 affected municipalities; 12273 in Albania; 1071 in Dubrovnic (Croatia)

Number of buildings damaged by shaking: status
Greater than

Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: status
N/A

Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: status
N/A

Loss: Socioeconomic
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People homeless
100000
number
People homeless: source
CAR estimate
People homeless: comment

~80000 in Yugoslavia and ~20000 in Albania

People homeless: status
Approximate

Direct economic loss
3690
million US$
Direct economic loss: source
Yugoslav Government
Direct economic loss: comment

Only due to losses in Montenegro. Losses in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia not known.


Indirect economic loss
274
million US$
Indirect economic loss: source
Yugoslav Government
Indirect economic loss: comment

Indirect losses in Montenegro.


Insured loss
0
million US$
Insured loss: source
Munich Re

Demographics
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Total number of buildings: status
N/A