(Source: European Commission)
As part of its efforts to strengthen resilience and peace building in the South Caucasus, the Commission is today delivering on its pledge to contribute an additional €10 million in humanitarian aid, including some very early recovery to help civilians affected by the recent conflict in and around Nagorno Karabakh. This brings EU assistance to people in need, since the start of the hostilities in September 2020, to over €17 million.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The humanitarian situation in the region continues to require our attention, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbating the impact of the conflict. The EU is substantially increasing its support to help people affected by the conflict to meet their basic needs and to rebuild their lives.“
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “As pledged at the end of last year, we are today delivering additional assistance to the people most affected by the conflict. Our support will not stop there: the EU continues to work towards a more comprehensive conflict transformation and long-term socio-economic recovery and resilience of the region.”
The funding made available today will help to provide emergency assistance including food, hygiene and household items, multi-purpose cash and healthcare. It will also cover protection assistance, including psychosocial support, education in emergency and ensure early recovery assistance through livelihood support. The assistance will benefit the most vulnerable conflict-affected people, including displaced persons, returnees and host communities.
This additional funding will also ensure humanitarian demining in populated areas and provide mine risk education to affected people. All EU humanitarian funding is provided based on needs and in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, as enshrined in EU and international law. It is delivered in partnership with UN agencies, international organisations and NGOs.
The recent military confrontation including Armenia and Azerbaijan, which raged unabated for six weeks, has caused casualties, damages and displacement of the local population. The fighting pushed hundreds of thousands to flee their homes for safety, of which some remain displaced and will not be able to return to their homes in the long-term. The hostilities have brought damage to livelihoods, houses and public infrastructure. Moreover, many areas have been left with mines and other unexploded ordnances, bringing significant risks for the civilian population.
Despite the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 9 November 2020, the humanitarian situation, further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, remains of concern. The EU is in close contact with humanitarian partners and other stakeholders on the ground to support the coordination of the humanitarian response and early recovery efforts.
The EU is a key partner of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and supports them in their reforms and socio-economic recovery including within the Eastern Partnership. The EU is committed to playing an active role in shaping a durable and comprehensive settlement, including through support for stabilisation, conflict transformation, and confidence building and reconciliation measures.