People in Need Launches Collection For Refugees From Karabakh

Representatives of the organisation say the situation on the border is critical. Credit: Shushanik Nersesyan / Člověk v tísni. 

Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) – The Czech humanitarian organisation People in Need (Člověk v tísni) has announced an SOS Armenia collection to help people fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh, where an exodus of thousands of ethnic Armenians is taking place after Armenian forces in Karabakh surrendered to Azerbaijani troops last week.

The situation on the border is critical, according to representatives of the organisation, which already has a team in the area distributing food, providing hygiene kits, and helping to provide security. As of Tuesday evening, more than 19,000 people had already left Nagorno-Karabakh and entered Armenia.

“We will provide people with water, food, shopping vouchers, mattresses, blankets, and clothes,” said Simon Panek, director of People in Need, in a press release yesterday. “We will help to equip accommodation centres, support children and the elderly, and provide other basic humanitarian assistance. We ask the public to contribute to the SOS Armenia collection.” 

The purchases of initial humanitarian aid were also made possible thanks to the use of CZK 1 million from the Friends of People in Need humanitarian fund, the organisation said yesterday.

People in Need has had a permanent mission in Armenia since 2003, but provided its first humanitarian aid in the country after the 1988 earthquake, when a group of Prague students launched a fundraising campaign. They transported 50 tons of material to Armenia, and at the same time laid the foundation of the organisation which later became People in Need.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally recognised part of Azerbaijan, but with the support of Yerevan, was taken over by Armenian separatists in a bloody war that ended in 1994.

During six weeks of fighting with Armenia in 2020, Azerbaijan recaptured the districts bordering the region and part of Karabakh. The war ended with a ceasefire brokered by Russia, which since then has had about 2,000 troops there as a peacekeeping force. The war in the 1990s was characterised by numerous massacres of civilians.

Some 120,000 ethnic Armenians lived in the area before the current events began. Their leadership claims that the people now fear persecution and ethnic cleansing and do not want to live under Azerbaijani rule.


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