In an annual telethon broadcast from Los Angeles late on Thursday and early Friday, a pan-Armenian charity received about $12.3 million in donations that will be mostly invested in the ongoing reconstruction of Nagorno-Karabakh’s water distribution network.
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund headquartered in Yerevan said the final figure may prove to be higher after it completes the tabulation of donation pledges received from Armenians in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
“Right now we are ascertaining and processing the whole list of contributors,” Hayastan spokeswoman Hasmik Grigorian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I think this work will continue until December.”
Grigorian said that the bulk of the money will be used for improving drinking water supplies to more Karabakh villages and implementing similar rural infrastructure projects in Armenia. The fund already raised $21 million for that purpose late last year.
“According to our estimates, about 27,000 people have had running water since then,” said Grigorian. “But there are tens of thousands of others who still have problems with access to drinking water.”
The 2010 figure included some $8 million which was donated by Russian-Armenian businessmen at a fundraising gala in Moscow attended by President Serzh Sarkisian. Sarkisian is due to be present at a similar fundraiser that will take place in the Russian capital in late December.
“If we take into account the fact that the sum raised at the latest telethon does not include the results of the [upcoming] gala, then we can conclude that it exceeds the result of last year’s telethon by $2 million,” said Grigorian.
Hayastan raised a record-high $35 million in 2008. Moscow-based businessman Samvel Karapetian donated $15 million of that.
Karabakh has been the main beneficiary of almost $216 million worth of development projects financed by Hayastan since 1992. That included the construction of about 500 kilometers of roads, hundreds of apartments and houses and dozens of schools, kindergartens and healthcare centers.