The International Committee of the Red Cross released a statement today urging Azerbaijan to reach a “humanitarian consensus” with Armenia to ease the suffering of indigenous Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) who are experiencing severe food, gas, water, and medicine shortages.
The Red Cross explains they are incapable of delivering humanitarian aid to those in Nagorno-Karabakh through the Lachin Corridor which connects Artsakh to Armenia or through Aghdam, an Azerbaijan town east of Artsakh. The Lachin corridor has been blocked by Azerbaijan for over 200 days intermittently devastating the well being of Armenians in Artsakh as scarcity in basic human needs like food, medicine, and water continue to depreciate.
The Red Cross states, “Despite persistent efforts, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is not currently able to bring humanitarian assistance to the civilian population through the Lachin corridor or through any other routes, including Aghdam. The organization is calling on the relevant decision makers to allow the ICRC to resume its essential humanitarian operations in the area.”
OC Media previously reported that before December 2022, Nagorno-Karabakh received over 90% of its supplies from Armenia through the now blocked Lachin corridor.
“Our humanitarian aid convoys are a lifeline for the population in this area. With these convoys blocked, our concern is that the humanitarian situation will further deteriorate. We are most worried about those who cannot help themselves. The sick and people with chronic diseases are particularly at risk, as are the elderly, infirm and children. For us to operate here, we need the sides to reach a humanitarian consensus. This is life-saving work, and it must be allowed to continue,” said ICRC’s regional director for Eurasia, Ariane Bauer.
Accordingly, the Red Cross urges decision makers from the region to allow aid to Armenians in Artsakh.
Consequences of Azerbaijan's defiance to allow the Red Cross to deliver humanitarian aid to Artsakh are life threatening and highly time-sensitive. Armen Press reported yesterday that according to Nagorno-Karabakh healthcare authorities, 20 children are currently hospitalized in Arevik clinic, with 7 of them in neonatal and intensive care. Furthermore, Armen Press reports that 76 patients are hospitalized in the Republican Medical Center in Stepanakert with 12 of them being in intensive care, and 2 in critical condition.
“The civilian population is now facing a lack of life-saving medication and essentials like hygiene products and baby formula. Fruits, vegetables, and bread are increasingly scarce and costly, while some other food items such as dairy products, sunflower oil, cereal, fish, and chicken are not available,” the Red Cross continues, " “Under international humanitarian law, sides must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need. This includes medical supplies and essential food.”