Children arriving in Armenia are in desperate need of shelter, food and clothing.
"Is it safe here?" Separated Children Fleeing the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Seek Refuge in Armenia
On September 27, 2020, when clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, parents were desperate to keep their children safe.
As conflict quickly turned deadly, thousands were forced to flee. Children, many of whom were separated from their parents, began streaming into Armenia.
Suzanna,* a seven-year-old girl who arrived in south Armenia, said: “I want to see my father. Is it safe here? Will there be no shooting here?”
“Many children will have seen or heard the violence; they are scared and possibly traumatized," said Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Director for Eastern Europe. "They might have even lost loved ones. This will have a deep impact on their mental wellbeing.”
Where is Nagorno-Karabakh?
The landlocked region of Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory controlled by an ethnic Armenian government and internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The disputed territory is home to about 150,000 people.
What is happening inside of Nagorno-Karabakh?
As civilians on both sides are now caught the deadliest fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in more than 25 years, concerns for the safety and protection of civilians, particularly children, must be prioritized.
With many civilian buildings badly damaged, some 70,000 people have been displaced, officials say. Children arriving in Armenia are in desperate need of shelter, food and clothing.
Schools in some Armenian cities and villages have opened their doors to shelter those fleeing the violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, who are mainly women and children. But the overcrowded conditions are worrisome given the risk of spreading COVID-19 without proper social distancing.
Save the Children is calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh
As conflicts around the world have shown, children are always the most vulnerable. In line with international humanitarian law and the rules of war, Save the Children is calling for the safety and protection of civilians, particularly children, to be prioritized.
* Name changed for protection.
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