The Yerevan-based All-Armenian Fund Hayastan launched an international fundraising campaign immediately after the outbreak of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in and around Karabakh on September 27. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians from around the world have responded to its appeal for urgent aid to Karabakh and its population severely affected by the fighting.
Data released by Hayastan on Wednesday shows that the charity supported by the Armenian government has raised nearly half of the money from the United States. Armenia is the second largest source of the donations to Karabakh, having contributed a third of the total sum so far.
“According to preliminary estimates, at least half a million people from around the world have participated in this fundraising campaign,” Haykak Arshamian, Hayastan’s executive director, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “But this number will rise significantly after we process all data. This is a quite lengthy process.”
The single largest donation worth $10 million has been made by the U.S.-based Armenian General Benevolent Union.
Hayastan has also received $3.5 million from Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentine billionaire businessman of Armenian descent. Russian-Armenian tycoon Samvel Karapetian and two Armenian-American benefactors have contributed $3 million each.
Arshamian said that a large part of the sum raised by Hayastan is already being spent for humanitarian purposes in coordination with the Armenian government. That includes relief aid provided to Karabakh civilians displaced by the fighting, he said.
According to authorities in Stepanakert, some 90,000 Karabakh Armenians making up around 60 percent of the territory’s population have fled their homes. They have been relocated to other parts of Karabakh or taken refuge in Armenia.
Stepanakert, virtually all other Karabakh towns and dozens of villages have been heavily shelled by Azerbaijani forces for the past month. The shelling has caused extensive damage to many homes and public infrastructures.