Mann sitz am Tisch und schält eine Orange
Hakob Hovhannisyan and Gevorg Mkrtchyan/HEKS/EPER
Humanitarian crisis in Armenia

Support for Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh

HEKS/EPER continues to support Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh

HEKS/EPER is providing emergency aid for Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh. The recent escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh at the end of September 2023 forced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians living in the region to flee to Armenia. In the short term, these people are in urgent need of housing, food and other basic necessities. In the medium term, they need prospects.

The conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus, which has pitted Armenia against Azerbaijan for decades until the end of September 2023, has caused a humanitarian tragedy, particularly for civil society in both countries. Following the latest outbreak of violence in September and the conquest of the entire region by the Azerbaijani army, almost the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh - over 100,000 people - fled the fighting to neighbouring Armenia. They feared ethnic attacks from Azerbaijan.

Emergency aid in the host country, Armenia

The situation for the ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh is dramatic. For Armenia, their host country, the biggest challenge is to provide them with accommodation and basic necessities. Together with its long-standing partner organisations on the ground, Armenia Round Table and Syunik-Development NGO, HEKS has provided initial emergency aid to the tune of CHF 300,000.This aid benefited a total of 1640 vulnerable people, mainly families with children, sometimes single parents, and the elderly.1,000 families received around CHF 120 in cash to cover their basic needs (food, hygiene items, rent).Accommodation and food were provided for a further 320 refugees. They also had access to psychosocial support and childcare.

However, displaced people still need support. For example, some still do not have permanent accommodation. 
HEKS/EPER has therefore decided to provide refugees with additional aid to the tune of CHF 1.5 million.  

These funds have made it possible to maintain emergency accommodation for 230 people in Yeghegis over the winter, to cover the refugees' basic needs and to provide them with psychological support.

Laying the foundations for an inclusive and sustainable future

This additional aid, financially supported by the Canton of Geneva, was launched by HEKS/EPER in December for a period of thirteen months. The aim of the project is to strengthen the resilience of the 
affected people and help them make the transition to a stable and dignified life within the Armenian host community. It is based on three pillars.

Firstly, people living in emergency shelter received emergency aid. HEKS/EPER local partner, Syunik - Development NGO, distributes food, medicines and hygiene items. The children have access to high-quality training and psychosocial support.

Secondly, HEKS/EPER is continuing its collaboration with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) to promote their integration into the labour market. The aim is for refugees to be able to support themselves quickly. To this end, they benefit from intensive vocational retraining and skills upgrading programmes that enable them to adapt to the local context and labour market. This measure is based on the existence of numerous small and medium-sized enterprises in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Finally, in partnership with the Armenian association Shen NGO, the project promotes dialogue between refugees and the local population through joint initiatives.  

By promoting the physical and emotional well-being, economic opportunities, social integration and resilience of communities, HEKS/EPER strives to lay the foundations for a sustainable and inclusive future for both refugees and host communities.

Thank you very much for your support.

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