United States activates a disaster assistance response team to respond to humanitarian needs in the South Caucasus

U.S. Agency for International Development has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the South Caucasus region to coordinate the U.S. humanitarian response in Nagorno Karabakh, the USAID reports.

The DART will assess the situation, identify priority needs to scale up assistance, and work with partners to provide urgently needed aid.

This week, USAID Administrator traveled to Armenia to hear directly from the people fleeing their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh in the wake of Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 attacks.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the safety of vulnerable populations in Nagorno-Karabakh and the more than 50,000 people who have fled to Armenia. We are grateful to the Government of Armenia for welcoming new arrivals and helping them find shelter and to humanitarian organizations working to address acute needs,” Power said in a statement.

“Last week’s unacceptable military operation has made an already dire humanitarian situation even worse. For nine months, Azerbaijan blocked the Lachin Corridor – shutting down a vital lifeline that connects the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh with food, medicine, fuel, and commercial supplies which is creating dire shortages,” she said.

“The Lachin Corridor must remain fully and permanently open so that civilians can leave and return freely, communities can access food, medicine, and other essential supplies, and humanitarian organizations can see and meet needs on the ground. Azerbaijan must protect civilians, uphold its obligations to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals in its country, and ensure its forces comply with international humanitarian law,” Samantha Power stated.

Given the scale of the needs, the United States announced $11.5 million in humanitarian assistance earlier this week to support communities across the South Caucasus who are affected by the ongoing crisis. This is in addition to the more than $23 million the United States has provided in humanitarian assistance since 2020 in response to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. These funds will be used to provide everything from food to psychosocial support to help address trauma caused by the violence and mass displacement.

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