Providing warmth and hygiene to displaced people in ArmeniaPublished: Jul 1, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), People in Need (PIN) has been supporting those forced to flee Nagorno Karabakh as a result of the conflict that began there in September 2020.
PIN is addressing this population’s most pressing hygiene and winterisation needs, as well as helping to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, by working with medical centres and shelters on the “Multi-sectoral emergency assistance to vulnerable populations affected by the conflict in Armenia” project. A total of 45 institutions including 36 health care institutions and 9 shelters throughout eight regions and Yerevan have received aid as part of the project. In addition, based on an initial needs assessment, trainings were delivered for the staff of all 45 institutions in line with tailored mitigation plans. The project covers all of Armenia and responds to the needs of approximately 50,000 beneficiaries.
Many displaced people from Nagorno Karabakh have not been able to return to their homes since the conflict began. They have been sheltering in hotels, schools, and private apartments in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and other parts of the country. “Our big family is from the village of Baghdasar in the Askeran region,” says Svetlana. “My sons went to the frontline on the first day of the conflict, September 27, and we came to Goris. After staying in Goris for a few days, we were transferred to a college area, and then we moved to this hotel, where we have remained since December.” The family is now living in a collective shelter for 140 people in Metsamor. “We have more than 30 family members. I have nine children and 18 grandchildren. We all moved here together; my 18th grandchild was born here,” she adds.
Narine, Svetlana’s neighbour, is from the village of Ukhtasar. “We are from the Askeran region. We settled there 17 years ago,” she says. Thanks to the intervention, the conditions in the collective shelter where she is living have been steadily improving. “When we first arrived, this place looked like a trashcan; everything was old, the sofas, the floor,” says Narine. “We did not have a kitchen, we used to cook in our rooms with small gas stoves.” She fondly recalls that PIN renovated the kitchen area, creating a space for the families to prepare their meals.
Paul Thibault, PIN Emergency Programmes Advisor, notes: “We went to the shelter to see the living conditions and listen to the stories and needs of the people staying there. The rooms are small and it was not safe to cook in them, but they had no choice. So we renovated three kitchens by adding counterspace, cabinets, cookers, and refrigerators, as well as tables and chairs.”
Svetlana and Narine also received blankets as a part of the project. “We are using the blankets we received because I couldn’t take my own blankets with me from the village,” says Svetlana.
PIN’s Heghine Poghosyan shows us what is inside the hygiene kits that have been distributed in the Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Armavir, and Ararat regions.
Irina, who is staying outside of Yerevan after the conflict forced her to flee the region of Hadrut, also received a hygiene kit. “We are thankful for every distribution, for all of the support. We have lost everything, including our home, so every little bit of help is useful,” she says.
These videos were produced within the framework of the “Multi-sectoral emergency assistance to vulnerable populations affected by the conflict in Armenia” project, funded by USAID and implemented by PIN. The contents are the sole responsibility of PIN and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the Government of the United States.