Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh sit in a car with their belongings on its rooftop, as they cross the border with Azerbaijan near the village of Kornidzor, Armenia, 29 September 2023. (Issued 01 October 2023). EFE/EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Nearly 30,000 children displaced to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh, says UNICEF

Rome, Oct 2 (EFE).- Around 30,000 children are among the some 100,000 people that have been displaced to Armenia due to the recent escalation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday.

Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh arrive at a registration center of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, near the border town of Kornidzor, Armenia, 25 September 2023. (Issued 01 October 2023). EFE/EPA/NAREK ALEKSANYAN

As of Friday, over 100,000 individuals, including “an estimated 30,000 children,” have been displaced to Armenia within a week, UNICEF said in a statement.

“In the face of this crisis, UNICEF’s primary concern is the well-being of these children and their families, as they grapple with the challenges of such rapid displacement,” the UN body added.

UNICEF said that the “crisis follows months of worsening conditions” for children and families in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The children, who are now seeking refuge in Armenia, require urgent access to psychosocial support, healthcare, and protection services, it added.

“In the southeastern town of Goris, UNICEF has established a safe space that serves nearly 300 children daily, along with their parents. It’s a place where children can play, mothers can breastfeed, and pediatric support is at hand for acute concerns. Similar spaces will be established in other communities,” agency said.

UNICEF has also supplied health authorities with essential medicines and resources for children, ensuring they reach healthcare facilities in areas with high numbers of displaced populations.

“Hygiene is a priority, with 15 mobile bio-toilets set up near registration centers in Goris and Vayk,” the statement said.

The organization has distributed hygiene kits to hundreds of families at the newly established coordination center in Yerevan, with more supplies on the way to assist the displaced people.

As families face potential long-term displacement, UNICEF said it was ready to collaborate with the Armenian government to ensure “refugee children are enrolled in the national education system, have access to child protection services, and receive primary healthcare, as well as mental health and psychosocial support.”

The UN body underlined that the safety and protection of children affected by the situation was “paramount.”

“We urge all parties involved and those with influence over them to prioritize the safety and survival of children above all else,” it said.

According to official data, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh before the exodus that began on Sep. 24 was around 120,000 inhabitants.

The Azerbaijani military launched an attack on the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave on Sep. 19 and gained control of the region within 24 hours of the operation. EFE