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Think green to stay warm: support for displaced families from Nagorno-Karabakh

In 2020, the 6-week-long conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh was followed by a harsh winter. This made the lives of those who lost their homes and livelihoods even more difficult. With EU humanitarian funding, People in Need (PIN) supplied eco-friendly and recycled briquettes to help displaced families stay warm. PIN also helped over 4,200 households pay their utility bills.

Story and photos by People in Need Armenia.

Heavy fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh took a heavy toll in late 2020. The hostilities resulted in thousands of casualties, including civilian deaths and injuries, and pushed hundreds of thousands to leave their homes just before the winter.

Arpine, Minareta, and Varuzhan are among those who received support thanks to EU humanitarian aid.


© People in Need/Tereza Hronova 2021

Many of those who fled for safety when the conflict started struggled to afford enough wood to last through the winter.

Arpine, who lives in the village of Verishen with her husband and daughter, says: “Before we received the briquettes, we got some wood from the owner of the house and paid for it whenever we earned some money. If not for the briquettes, we would be forced to buy wood again.”


© People in Need/Tereza Hronova 2021

“I was hiding in a bunker in Shushi until the end of October. We had so much there. We had around 100 beehives and additional land for breeding bees,” says Minareta.

Together with her husband, she is now renting a place near Armenia’s capital Yerevan.

The house is so poorly isolated and cold that they had to heat it during the day even in spring. Minareta received briquettes, which helped ease the financial burden on the family: “The wood was a big expense. In Armenia, it is much more expensive than in Nagorno-Karabakh,” she explains.


© People in Need/Tereza Hronova 2021

Varuzhan, who fled the fighting with his wife and four children, says, “PIN called us and asked what we were using to heat the house. I told them that we mostly use electricity and gas, and that I also bought some wood. They brought 600 kilograms of briquettes. They burn very well.”

The European Union promptly responded to the impact of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and has mobilised €16.9 million in relief aid since 2020. This funding addresses the most urgent needs of those affected by the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh until they are back on their feet.

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