The sole road, on the Lachin Corridor, connecting Artsakh / NagornoKarabakh to Armenia and the outside world, has been blocked by Azerbaijani state-sponsored actors since December 12, 2022, isolating 120,000 indigenous Armenians.
The human consequences have become catastrophic as the blockade continues to cut off access to goods and services that used to flow regularly and freely. Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh is not self-sufficient, and as such, the people are experiencing a rapid depletion of food, medicine, and essential supplies.
Since the start of the blockade up to the date of this briefing, more than 20,800 tons of vital goods, including food and medicine have been denied entry into the area.
Since the start of the humanitarian crisis, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been the sole international humanitarian agency granted passage through the blockade. The ICRC has only sometimes been able to facilitate the transfer of goods, mainly for extremely vulnerable community members, such as young children, the elderly, and medical patients. This is a meager amount relative to the 400 tons delivered daily prior to the blockade. There are 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly, and 9,000 people with disabilities in Artsakh. The Artsakh government has had to launch a food coupon system for families to have some basic food equitably distributed.
From the date of this briefing, six children are currently in neonatal and intensive care units. 12 adults are in intensive care, of whom four are in critical condition. 560 surgeries have not been conducted, depriving patients of their right to health and basic services. So far, 58 patients were able to be transferred to Yerevan with the facilitated mediation of the ICRC. 192 babies have been born under the siege to date. Mental stress and trauma are reaching extreme levels.
Furthermore, the only power plant, located in the Azerbaijan-controlled AghavnoBerdzor area, that provides electricity to Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh was damaged on January 9. Engineers have not been allowed to run maintenance works, resulting in electricity being rationed with at least six hour blackouts a day. Additionally, the only natural gas pipeline supplying Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh has been cut off four times from the date of this briefing since the start of the blockade. The sole hydropower plant supplying some electricity to the area is overusing its water reservoir capacity with shorter depletion cycles expected to come.
For humanitarian context, temperatures have reached -6 degrees Celsius since the start of the year.
With no heating, limited electricity, and significant food insecurity, 118 public schools were forced to close for 13 days from January 18 to January 30. Schools can only remain open as long as energy supply allows. However, 41 kindergartens and 20 long-day educational institutions remain fully closed since January 9, impacting 5,528 students.