Pedestrians walk past a poster bearing a flag of Nagorno-Karabakh in Stepanakert, November 24, 2020

Many Karabakh Armenians Still Lack Adequate Housing after 2020 War

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By Robert Zargarian

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL) — Nearly 16,000 residents of Nagorno-Karabakh displaced by the 2020 war with Azerbaijan continue to live in temporary shelters or homes, a senior official in Stepanakert said on January 18.

Artak Beglaryan, the Karabakh state minister, said that more than 20,000 others remain in Armenia 14 months after a Russian-brokered ceasefire stopped the six-week war that left at least 6,500 people dead.

Most of the displaced Karabakh Armenians are former residents of Karabakh’s southern Hadrut district and the town of Shushi (Shusha) captured by Azerbaijani forces. Others used to live in districts around the Soviet-era Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast handed back to Baku after the ceasefire.

In Beglaryan’s words, the Karabakh authorities provided 467 apartments for displaced people in 2021.

“At the end of last year we provided 108 apartments built by the All-Armenian Fund Hayastan,” the official told a news conference. ”We will provide more than 200 apartments in the coming weeks.”

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“Right now 2,862 apartments are being constructed,” Beglaryan said, adding that the authorities are on track to provide virtually all displaced families living in Karabakh with adequate housing by 2024.

The authorities also offer between 10 million and 15 million drams ($21,000-$31,000) to families buying existing apartments or houses. The subsidy is well below home prices in Stepanakert and nearby settlements which went up after the war.

The prices are too high for the family of Lusine Hayrian. She, her husband and five children fled their village in Hadrut during the war and now huddle in a single room in a Stepanakert hostel.

“Nobody has visited us so far,” Hayrian told RFE / RL’s Armenian Service. ”Nor have we heard any promises of a [new] home.”

Karabakh had an estimated 150,000 residents before the war that broke out in September 2020. According to Karabakh officials, at least 90,000 local refugees fled their homes and took refuge in Armenia during the fierce fighting. Most of them returned to Karabakh after the ceasefire.

Topics: housing
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