“We have just received the news that the number of displaced people has risen to 19 thousand. These people arrive with psychological problems, they suffer from depression, they have no clothes, they have nothing with them.” Gagik Tarasyan is the director of the Armenian Caritas and tells Adnkronos from Gyumri – the second city of Armenia where the main headquarters of the organization he presides is located – the flight of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh after the “anti-terrorism operation” that began on September 19 from Azerbaijan.
“Certainly” to deal with this emergency, which is growing hour by hour, “we would need Europe’s help”, declares Tarasyan, who is currently working on a ‘concept note’ to be submitted to international Caritas and other partner to ask for “especially food, but not only”.
Working alongside more than 20 people mobilized for the displacement crisis, the director lists their most urgent needs. “Shelter for the night, food, medical support and psycho-social support”, he explains, specifying that people fleeing Karabakh need essential goods such as food parcels with pasta, rice, milk, sugar, potatoes, canned meat and hygiene kits.
The Armenian Caritas therefore denounces that during the so-called “anti-terrorism activities” the Azerbaijani armed forces also targeted residential buildings, houses and civilians. Azerbaijan said it would also evacuate the Armenian population from “dangerous areas” which triggered immediate fears of “ethnic cleansing”, Tarasyan adds, noting that the Yerevan government is committed to providing accommodation to arriving refugees who ” do not have a predetermined place of residence” in Armenia.
The exodus caused a huge traffic jam on the road connecting Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh. The authorities of Stepanakert, the Armenian name of the capital of the disputed region, have urged the remaining population, made up of over 100 thousand inhabitants, to suspend departures for the moment to allow them to evacuate the wounded and displaced people caused by the Azerbaijani offensive first. A statement released this morning emphasizes that “all citizens wishing to move from Artsakh to Armenia will have this opportunity.”