The United Nations has issued a pressing plea for assistance to aid refugees who are escaping from Karabakh in Armenia.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, urges the global community to provide urgent assistance to refugees and their host countries. This international support is essential in maintaining their welcome and addressing both immediate and long-term needs of this population.
After tensions increased in late September, over 100,000 refugees sought shelter in Armenia in a span of one week.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is requesting immediate financial assistance to help provide crucial humanitarian assistance and protection to refugees and their hosts in Armenia. This aid will be coordinated with other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in support of the government’s efforts.
‘Remarkable’ local welcome
Local communities have graciously welcomed refugees and shown great support, according to Mr. Grandi. The response from local authorities, volunteers, and civil society has also been exceptional and led by national authorities.
The plan for responding to refugees in Armenia involves 60 partners, including 43 national NGOs, and will provide relief for six months until March 2024.
The collaborative strategy is focused on assisting approximately 231,000 individuals, including 136,000 refugees and 95,000 individuals from neighboring communities. The plan also considers the approaching severe winter season.
Meeting critical needs
Out of the new individuals who have arrived, approximately 30,000 are children and a significant number of vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women, people with disabilities, and those with chronic health conditions. The majority of the refugees consist of elderly individuals and children.
Many fled with just the few possessions they were able to grab and arrived distressed, exhausted, and apprehensive about the future. They now require critical support, according to UN agencies.
The host community in Armenia is facing immense pressure as they are tasked with accommodating over 100,000 refugees in just a few days. This number of refugees makes up more than 3.4% of the country’s population and adds to the existing refugee, asylum seeker, and stateless population of around 35,000 individuals.
According to UNHCR, the plan for response will aid and supplement the Government’s actions, prioritizing emergency aid and protection. It will also prioritize inclusivity, resilience, and finding solutions from the beginning, benefiting both refugees and host communities.
The strategy includes various areas, particularly safeguarding, with an emphasis on violence against women, safeguarding children, schooling, the availability of food, healthy eating habits, healthcare, adaptability, housing, and non-food essentials. A more prolonged approach will strive to guarantee inclusivity and enhance national government services.