Tens of thousands of people have fled to Armenia following the resumption of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, 19 September, and the subsequent surrender of the local authorities. From the very outset of these developments, our dedicated team has been on the ground, delivering crucial humanitarian assistance. The protracted conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has inflicted unrelenting suffering on the local population since its eruption in 1988.
"The situation is critical, with over 105 000 people in need of assistance. 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 Country Director in Armenia.
"We will provide people with water, food, shopping vouchers, mattresses and blankets or clothes. We will help equip accommodation centers, support children and older people, and provide other basic humanitarian assistance. We are asking the public to contribute to our Armenia emergency appeal," says Šimon Pánek, CEO of People in Need.
"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.
People in Need is the largest non-governmental organization in Central and Eastern Europe, delivering development and humanitarian assistance to 25 countries across Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, and Asia. In 2022 alone, People in Need supported over 4,5 million people.
People in Need has been working in Armenia since 2003 and is therefore well placed to provide timely and the most relevant assistance.
*Armenia emergency appeal to help people fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh
The recent escalation of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, preceded by the 9+ month blockade of the Lachin corridor has triggered the mass evacuation of Nagorno-Karabakh population, with at least 100,520 persons (over 80% of the region’s population) fleeing to Armenia between September 24 – 29. 2023. Already highly vulnerable after a prolonged blockade that has severe impact on their ability to access basic services (including basic food or medicine), the exiled people of Nagorno-Karabakh were able to take with them little to no belonging.
The current situation is drastically different from before. Unlike previous displacements, this time they have no hope of ever returning to Nagorno-Karabakh. It means their needs include urgent, life-saving assistance such as emergency shelter, food, psychosocial support, health or protection, as well as mid to long-term integration support such as developing sources of income, education, etc.
* Why your support matters?
• As of October 4, 2023, at least 100,520 persons have fled from the region towards Armenia, largely entering the country through the Lachin corridor and ending mainly in Goris/Syunik.
• The coordination of the response is led by the Armenian government and supported by the UNHCR. Humanitarian actors are expected to coordinate their aid activities with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and are then being referred to municipalities for further coordination.
• The current response relies on limited humanitarian resources and it can be expected that needs will rapidly become unmet as these are exhausted.
• PIN was among the first to respond with immediate food and emergency assistance in Goris. We were also amongst the first to support the official registration center run by authorities.
In the coming months, PIN is planning to scale up its work and provide immediate assistance with:
(a) Shelter and non-food items;
(b) Food security and livelihoods;
(c) Education and child protection;
(d) Mainstreaming protection.