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Karabakh Unveils Post-War Aid Package For Residents


NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Men walk past a burnt shop in Stepanakert, November 16, 2020

Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh will not have to pay for electricity, natural gas and other utilities for the next year as part of an emergency aid package approved by Karabakh’s leadership on Tuesday.

Ara Harutiunian, the Karabakh president, said the exemptions are necessary for alleviating the socioeconomic plight of the territory’s population in the wake of the devastating war with Azerbaijan.

Harutiunian also promised to compensate low-income local residents and those Karabakh Armenians whose homes were destroyed during the six-week war. The homeless people will receive 300,000 drams ($607) each, he said at a meeting with senior officials in Stepanakert.

“The Karabakh government is committing itself to solving the housing problems of all our homeless citizens within several years. In the meantime, the state will continue providing these families with financial aid that will cover their housing rent,” added Harutiunian.

The Karabakh leader did not specify the total cost of the aid package or say whether it will be financed by Armenia’s government and the Yerevan-based All-Armenian Fund Hayastan.

The pan-Armenian charity has raised about $200 million for economic and humanitarian aid to Karabakh since the outbreak of the war on September 27. The money has been donated by people in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora.

The Armenian government announced separately that it will pay one-off compensations to all Karabakh residents displaced by the large-scale hostilities. It said each of them will receive 68,000 drams.

According to authorities in Stepanakert, at least 90,000 civilians making up around 60 percent of Karabakh’s population fled their homes during the war. Most of them took refuge in Armenia. More than a thousand refugees have reportedly returned to Karabakh since a Russian-mediated agreement stopped the war on November 10.

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