A devastating view of Stepanakert post invasion

STEPANAKERT (Public Radio of Armenia) — Teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are visiting communities in Karabakh in their search to provide help to people after the huge exodus which followed the recent escalation of hostilities.

A small number of people remain in their homes, either by choice or because they were unable to leave by themselves. Some require medical help or food and water. Others are requesting assistance in contacting loved ones or securing transport to leave. Our teams have also assisted in the careful removal of people who have died, onwards to mortuary facilities for appropriate and dignified care.

“We’ve got winter coming. I know from personal experience that the winters here are very harsh”, said Chris Poole, a weapons contamination expert working with the ICRC.

“Time is of the essence. We need to get into these areas, with the necessary expertise, with the necessary materials.”

Teams in the city are in contact with a small number of residents who remain in their homes and we are constantly finding new individuals. Homes, shops and offices have been left abandoned and many dogs and cats can be seen in the streets.

ICRC recently met a man who was staying inside a small kiosk in a shopping center. Others are grateful to receive bread and water or make use of ICRC phones in order to try to contact family or friends.

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An ICRC team was approached by a man who lives with his 92-year-old father in a very remote mountain community. He was not aware that so many people had fled the region as he has been without electricity for several weeks, with no access to TV or radio.

“I saw from afar that you arrived. I was going to collect water and saw you are there,” said Aharon Ghazaryan when talking to the ICRC team. “When people were fleeing I couldn’t leave with my father, because he is very old man. Thank God that you came, we saw you, and got information about what is going on right now.”

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