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Food Shortages, Deaths, and Protests in Artsakh as Azerbaijan's Blockade Continues

Upwards of 100,000 ethnic Armenians residing in Artsakh face the brink of a humanitarian crisis as Azerbaijan's checkpoint on the Lachin Corridor, the primary connecting road to Armenia, continues to prevent basic human needs supplies from reaching the people. 

As supplies become more scarce each day the situation has reached a critical point. On July 8th, the bodies of two Armenian children were found inside a car. The young siblings, a 6 year old girl and her 3 year old brother, went out looking for their mother who had walked to a nearby town to secure food supplies for her children. The siblings took refuge in an unlocked car on a hot summer evening. The cause of death remains undetermined. 

Marut Vanyan, a journalist based in Artsakh, has taken to social media to bring needed attention to Artsakh by documenting the effects of food shortages and shut off gas that has resulted in residents rallying to have their voices heard and needs met. 

On his Twitter account, Vanyan posts frequent updates of the state of Artsakh and its residents.

Seen in the video above, Vanyan shows the largest supermarket in Stepanakert mirroring a ghost town with not a single food product on any shelves further exemplifying the food crisis Artsakh is experiencing.

The Stepanakert resident pictured above says to Vanyan, “All I could get is some potatoes. It runs out too. Nothing is possible to buy. A kilo green tomato costs 200 AMD ($5), which is too costly for me. Such a horrible situation.”

Elderly woman drags a giant branch through the streets of Stepanakert to use as firewood.

On July 15th, exactly a month after gas supplies were prohibited from crossing Azerbaijan's checkpoint on the corridor, Vanyan reported that due to gas shortages public transportation has come to a complete halt. 

Stepanakert citizens waiting at the gates of an egg company hoping to get an egg. This, according to Vanyan, is “a normal morning in Stepanakert.”

In Stepanakert on July 14, thousands of people gathered to protest the blockade amid the increasing scarcity of basic human needs. 

Seen here, rally participants are marching towards a Russian military base as they exclaim, “We need real peacekeepers. We need a Corridor. Not a checkpoint.”

Banners protesting the Artsakh blockade at the center of Stepanakert. 

The situation in Artsakh grows more critical each day Azerbaijan refuses to let Red Cross trucks come through the corridor to deliver much needed aid to Armenians. President Arayik Harutyunian said on July 17th, “If the situation for the people of Artsakh does not return to a more or less stable and normal course within a week with international intervention, we will resort to tougher actions both in Artsakh and beyond."

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