After the 1988 Armenian earthquake, which affected an area with a population of 700,000, international relief operations sent a minimum of 5000 tons of drugs and consumable medical supplies. Because of difficulties with identification and sorting, only 30% of the drugs were immediately usable by the health workers in Armenia. Such quantities posed numerous problems for transportation and storage. Useless and expired agents comprised 11% and 8% of the drugs, respectively. 20% of all the drugs provided by international aid had to be destroyed by the end of 1989.