Armenian electricity supplies to Karabakh were similarly disrupted on January 10, leading the authorities in Stepanakert to impose rolling power cuts. The energy crisis compounded shortages of food, medicine and other essential items resulting from Baku’s continuing blockade of the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia.
The authorities decided late on Wednesday to suspend classes in local schools and colleges, saying they cannot be heated in the absence of gas and electricity. An official from the Karabakh education ministry said it is also not possible to switch to online courses because the erratic power supplies preclude stable Internet connection.
Inga Gharayan, a Stepanakert-based mother of three, said her sons were “very upset” by the closure of their school.
“They didn’t want this to happen,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “One of my boys even cried.”
Karabakh’s kindergartens were shut down two weeks ago due to the food shortages.
Later this week, the authorities will start rationing some basic foodstuffs to ensure their even distribution to the population. Every person is to receive one liter of sunflower oil and one kilogram of rice, macaroni, buckwheat and sugar a month.
Karabakh residents received on Wednesday coupons needed for buying these staples. One of them, Kristine Balayan, said she will not rush to local food stores after the start of the rationing because she wants to avoid long lines outside them.
“Besides, we can’t even cook that rice or macaroni because there is no electricity and gas,” explained the woman.