The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today renewed its call on the U.S. Department of State to immediately reprogram at least $25 million from the Congressionally appropriated aid package for Armenia to help fight the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the urgency of battling the COVID-19 pandemic grows day by day, the ANCA calls on the U.S. Department of State to accelerate reprogramming funds to help Armenia flatten the curve,” remarked ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “Any delay in reprogramming funds – at this point – will come at the cost of lives across Armenia. This is not acceptable,” added Hamparian.
In a letter sent on April 3, 2020, to the State Department making this $25 million reprogramming request, the ANCA Chairman thanked the Administration for its initial emergency allocation and expressed the Armenian American community’s appreciation for all those at the Department of State and partner agencies who are striving selflessly to represent the United States, protect American citizens, support our allies, and help end this pandemic.
On the day the ANCA letter was sent, April 3rd, there were – according to the World Health Organization – 69 new COVID-19 cases and a total of 640 confirmed cases in Armenia; on June 4th, there were 697 new cases and a total of 11,221 confirmed cases. The Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center cites an incidence rate of 398.79 per 100,000 people in Armenia.
On April 17, 2020, the Department of State confirmed to the ANCA, through a communication by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, George Kent, that the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan is open to adjusting the existing U.S. aid program to help Armenia meet its urgent priorities related to the COVID-19 crisis. According to a June 4th RFE/RL news item, the U.S. has allocated $5.4 million in new assistance to combat COVID-19 in Armenia. A May 22nd U.S. Embassy press statement referenced that an additional $1.2 million in “previously allocated assistance” has been redirected to address the implications of COVID-19.
In its April 3rd letter, the ANCA noted to the U.S. Department of State that the European Union had already announced that it is reprogramming $33 million in existing funding to help Armenia bolster its COVID-19 efforts, and also made $18 million in additional funds available for Armenia to acquire medical devices and equipment, support small and medium-sized businesses, and help ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches low-income families.