Montenegro, Serbia Montenegro 1979 (CAR)
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.
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).
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.
94 people were killed in the Montenegro coastal areas and 35 were killed in the territory of Skadar (Albania).
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.
11773 in Montenegro's 12 affected municipalities; 12273 in Albania; 1071 in Dubrovnic (Croatia)
~80000 in Yugoslavia and ~20000 in Albania
Only due to losses in Montenegro. Losses in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia not known.
Indirect losses in Montenegro.