We have launched the SOS Armenia emergency appeal to help people fleeing Nagorno-KarabakhPublished: Sep 26, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing to Armenia following the resumption of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, 19 September, and the subsequent surrender of the local authorities. Our team is already in the area and providing humanitarian aid in the form of food, mobility aids for people with disabilities, and safe spaces for children. We are also supporting a network of local organisations helping people displaced by the conflict. The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has been a constant source of suffering since 1988.
UPDATE 28 Sep: The number of refugees who have crossed the border has surpassed 70,000 (Reuters)
"The situation is critical, with increasing numbers of people on the border. There are older people and families with small children. Many have taken only the basic things with them and lack adequate clothes, food, or hygiene items. We are relying on funds from our donors to respond to the civilian population's current needs," says Varduhi Dadunts, People in Need's Mission Director in Armenia.
"We will provide people with water, food, shopping vouchers, mattresses and blankets or clothes. We will help equip accommodation centres, support children and older people, and provide other basic humanitarian assistance. We are asking the public to contribute to our SOS Armenia emergency appeal," says Šimon Pánek, CEO of People in Need.
Donate to SOS Armenia Emergency Appeal:
"We are providing food packages and safe spaces for children to those crossing the border into Armenia. We are helping with aid to local authorities. The assistance is also aimed at people with disabilities, for whom we are providing wheelchairs and other mobility aids," says Michal Zelba, People in Need's Programme Coordinator for Armenia.
The purchase of initial humanitarian aid was made possible thanks to €40,000 from the humanitarian funds of the People in Need Club of Friends.
"In Armenia, we have been helping people affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for a long time. We have been supporting people affected by the conflict and subsequent developments, including the situation around the Lachin Corridor and current events," says Petr Drbohlav, People in Need's Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans.
The nine-month blockade of the land link between Armenia and Karabakh has contributed to food, medicine, fuel, and humanitarian aid shortages in Nagorno-Karabakh. As many as 120,000 ethnic Armenians lived in Nagorno-Karabakh—which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan—before the current situation arose. Last Tuesday, Azerbaijan launched a military operation to take control of the area. According to current information, more than nineteen thousand people have already left Nagorno-Karabakh and entered Armenia. This figure is expected to rise to beyond twenty thousand by this evening.
People in Need has had a permanent mission in Armenia since 2003; however, we first delivered humanitarian aid to the country after the 1988 earthquake. A group of Prague students—whose members later became the founders of People in Need—launched a collection for aid to support those affected by the earthquake. They transported 50 tonnes of material to Armenia and, at the same time, sowed the seeds from which People in Need would grow.