The 6-week long hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh have resulted in thousands of casualties, including civilian deaths and injuries. The fighting pushed hundreds of thousands to flee their homes for safety. Today, some remain displaced. The region has seen various alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law, including targeting of civilian infrastructure or use of banned cluster munitions. Despite the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 November 2020, the humanitarian situation remains of concern.
What are the needs?
Due to displacement, loss of belongings and livelihoods, destruction of houses and infrastructure, conflict-affected populations have required humanitarian assistance, in particular during the winter months.
Many civilians fled their homes for safety during the hostilities. While some people have already returned home, not all will be able and are willing to do so.
The conflict has caused significant damage to homes and key infrastructures such as schools and hospitals, which creates long-lasting humanitarian consequences. It has also damaged roads, electricity, gas, and communication networks. People have lost their jobs and livelihood opportunities.
The displacement of civilians and the need for treatment of the war-wounded puts an additional strain on health resources, which are already stretched amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the effects of hostilities and displacement, conflict-affected persons also need psychosocial and mental health support.
As the situation stabilises, concrete solutions such as jobs, income generating and livelihood opportunities are necessary to rebuild their lives and enhance their resilience. The presence of mines poses safety risks to the civilian population and may prevent many from restarting their agricultural activity. This requires further action on both humanitarian demining and mine risk education.
How are we helping?
The European Commission promptly responded to the impact of the conflict with €6.9 million in humanitarian support to address the needs of the most vulnerable among the people directly affected by the conflict.
The emergency support helps EU humanitarian partners to deliver basic assistance including food, hygiene and household items, multi-purpose cash assistance, shelter, education in emergency, health and psychosocial support, medical equipment, and other urgent assistance to those affected by the conflict.
The EU has mobilised an additional contribution of €10 million in humanitarian relief. This funding will include some early recovery aid by providing livelihoods so that conflict-affected people can rebuild their lives. It will also ensure much needed humanitarian demining in populated areas and provide mine risk education to people at risk.
EU humanitarian funding is provided in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
The European Commission also plays a key role in facilitating humanitarian coordination and information sharing among various organisations, including donors, authorities and humanitarian partners. EU humanitarian aid will be complementary to the support to the conflict-affected population provided by the respective governments.