Keeping Armenia’s displaced warm during the winterPublished: Jun 11, 2021 Reading time: 2 minutes
Harsh temperatures and heavy snowfall during Armenia’s most recent winter made living conditions even more difficult for thousands of displaced people. After losing their homes and livelihoods due to fighting in Nagorno Karabakh, they had to deal with displacement during the winter, when temperatures throughout Armenia can drop drastically.
To help these families stay warm, People in Need (PIN), with funding from EU Humanitarian Aid, supplied heating briquettes to 500 displaced households that were registered with the local municipalities in the regions of Syunik, Armavir, Ararat, and Vayots Dzor. PIN also assisted over 4,200 households with utility payments for the season. Arpine, Minareta, and Varuzhan are among those who received support.
Minareta says, “I was in a bunker in Shushi until the end of October. We had so much in Shushi. We had around 100 beehives and additional land for breeding bees.” Minareta and her husband are now living near Armenia’s capital Yerevan in a rented accommodation. The house is large and cold, requiring them to heat it during the day even in April.
Minareta received 600 kilograms of eco-friendly, recycled briquettes for heating from PIN, as it was difficult to buy wood in the village where they are staying. “The wood was a big expense. In Armenia, it is much more expensive than in Nagorno Karabakh,” she explains.
Many of those who fled when the conflict started are still looking for jobs and cannot afford enough wood to last through the winter. Arpine, who lives in the village of Verishen in the Goris Region with her husband and daughter, says: “Before we received the briquettes, we took some wood from the owner of the house and paid for it when we earned some money. If not for the briquettes, we would be forced to buy wood again.”
Varuzhan, who fled the Hadrut region with his wife and four children, says, “They [PIN] called us and asked what we were using to heat the house. I told them that we mostly use electricity and gas, and that I also bought some wood for about 300 Euro. They brought 60 packets of briquettes totalling 600 kilograms. It burns very well. Every day we burn through two packets of briquettes.”