Armenia/Azerbaijan: Evacuating the wounded, delivering humanitarian relief
At the same time in Armenia, services and accommodation are overstretched and struggling to accommodate over 100,000 people. The most urgent needs we have identified are financial support, accommodation, and basic essential items like foldable beds, pillows, heaters, winter clothing and personal hygiene items.
Top photo: Alain Jocard/AFP
A big part of our work will be for ensuring that people left behind are cared for, especially the elderly and people with disabilities. We're distributing food in urban areas but also moving into the more rural villages to check on residents.
The ICRC is on the ground and has been the only international organization present in the region over the past 30 years. We are scaling up our response with experts in health, forensics, protection, and weapons contamination. Our most recent operations include:
- We are going door to door to make sure the most vulnerable and isolated people in the region are not left without life-saving assistance. Elderly and people living with disabilities are of particular concern. Our teams are providing food and water where needed, and also helped to evacuate very vulnerable people, like the elderly or those with disabilities, to Armenia.
- Hundreds of families have been separated and are visiting our offices in the region each day reporting loved ones they lost contact with. We have set-up a hotline with our partner the Armenian Red Cross so people can more easily open a request with the Red Cross to find their loved ones (+374 982 552 73 and +374 770 82 027).
Armenia/Azerbaijan— ICRC (@ICRC) October 4, 2023
Tens of thousands have fled their homes.
But the most vulnerable - including the elderly, sick, and disabled - are unable to easily leave.
Our teams have been in the streets with megaphones, to find those who need help or wish to be evacuated 🧵 pic.twitter.com/lANlbFIi4X
- We are also working with authorities to help evacuate the bodies of deceased relatives so that they can have the closure of private funerals; over 200 bodies have been transferred to Armenia in the last two weeks with the help of our teams. Our forensics specialists are also working with morgues and hospitals in the area to help identity and manage the dead with dignity. This work is vital in helping improve the chances that bodies are identified and later returned to their loved ones.
- We are also evacuating those in need of further medical care to Armenia. This includes those injured in the recent escalation of hostilities as well as those hurt in the explosion at a fuel depot on the 25th of September.
- Hospitals and medical facilities are in need of medicines and supplies. Since 19 September, we have provided supplies to treat those with trauma injuries, including burns, to hospitals.
- On Saturday, 23rd of September we delivered nearly 70 metric tons of humanitarian supplies via the Lachin road. This included 66 metric tons of wheat flour, 2,700 kilograms of salt, 450 kilograms of dried yeast, and 375 litres of sunflower oil.
- The large-scale movement of people greatly increases their exposure to mines and unexploded remnants of war. We are deploying additional weapon contamination experts to better assess the risks, mark contaminated areas, and educate people about the risks of mines and unexploded ordnances when they are on the move.
Our long-term presence
Our most recent response comes on top of years of work in the region to alleviate suffering.
Prior to the most recent escalation in hostilities the ICRC was working to deliver humanitarian assistance and evacuate patients in need of medical care. Since December 2022, we have evacuated hundreds of people in need of urgent medical care.
From December 2022 to July 2023, the ICRC delivered 77 trucks of assistance along the Lachin corridor, including 900 metric tons of medical supplies for health care facilities. We also distributed around 10,000 food and hygiene parcels to people in need.