Tbilisi, 15 October, 2020 – CARE International is concerned about the condition of thousands of conflict-affected population – especially women and youth– following the continuation of Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict and urges donors and aid agencies to prioritise conflict-affected people and displaced population amidst emergency aid and recovery plans.
According to different sources, there are around 75,000 displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh territory, as well as hundreds of other people who have been evacuated from the front-lines and other towns, as a result of ongoing armed conflict. The conditions of conflict-affected population is alarming, as they are in need of shelter, food, medicines and hygiene supplies. Majority of those affected are women and youth, who are currently residing with host families or relatives.
As local civil society reports to CARE: “We’re worried that as the armed conflict continues, the situation is getting worse, as more and more people are affected daily, asking for protection and shelter. As for now, the kind host population and relatives are providing shelter for the affected people. However, this can’t continue indefinitely. The shelter and other immediate needs of the population should be addressed”. According to them, particular attention should be given to unaccompanied youth, children, elderly and people with non-communicable diseases. The worst affected are women and youth, especially girls, who are majority of displaced population. There are unaccompanied youth among the displaced. The crisis might increase the risks of violence and protection for girls particularly.
As civil society representatives share, people escaped as they could, some without clothes, food, money and now they are in a terrible situation. There is a nationwide mobilization for collecting food and clothes for these families and many volunteer movements and groups are trying to help. These people are in desperate need of hygiene and medical supplies, warm clothes, bedding items and other basic necessities. These families might not go back depending on the situation. They will need the support, as it's very hard to feed and house large number of women and children, and families at different places.
Local civil society representatives and activists in the regions are actively working within their capacities to satisfy the urgent needs of affected population. However, the continuation of the armed conflict leads to increased numbers of those affected and will result in scarcity of local resources to respond. COVID19 health crisis further aggravates the situation, limiting access to healthcare services.
CARE is monitoring the situation and works with local civil society representatives to identify the specific needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups to provide humanitarian assistance, and plan mid-term response strategy. As an independent, non-partisan organization, CARE will continue its commitments to contribute to peace and stability in the region, working and empowering civil society and local communities, through humanitarian and development programming.
Armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh territory has been ongoing since September 27. Despite the ceasefire on October 10, 2020, the armed battle continues. The shelling has spread outside the conflict lines to different cities and towns of the region, affecting civilian infrastructure, and resulting in civilian casualties: dozens of dead, hundreds of injured, and tens of thousands of displaced people in the region.