Nagorno Karabakh: Voices from behind the blockade

16 February 2023

It has been over 65 days since the blockade of Nagorno Karabakh.

Azerbaijani protestors continue to block access through the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno Karabakh – home to approximately 120,000 civilians – to Armenia. Despite calls to lift the blockade from humanitarian groups, notable public figures (such as Cher), and members of the United Nations Security Council, the siege continues.

Exacerbated by freezing temperatures, the residents are currently living without a gas supply, and have rationed food, medicine, and electricity. They are also facing shortages of baby formula and insulin. With supplies dwindling every week, all educational facilities have been forced to close. Residents are in constant fear, recalling the Armenian genocide, 44-day war, and atrocities of the past.

Arseni (aged 25) suffers from cerebral palsy. He receives treatment and works at the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre. However, due to fuel shortages caused by the current blockade, Arseni tells us that he “can neither go to work nor to a treatment session.”

Dr Atayan writes: “If we don’t take into account the psychological stress that our people are going through these days, then no citizen living in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) can take appropriate examinations if they have any health problems because the medical supplies have already been used up.

Planned surgeries have been postponed and only those in extremely serious condition are being performed. At the moment, there are people with very serious diseases in Artsakh, who regularly went to Yerevan for a check-up, but due to the blockade, their treatment has also been stopped which can cause serious consequences and may be fatal for some. People with cancer who received their chemotherapy in Yerevan cannot continue their treatment.” 

Mother of twins Marieta (aged 48) says “…when your child asks you for fruits, vegetables, sweets and you know that you cannot fulfil your parental duties, then life in all its shades loses its meaning. Yet all this is not the end of my troubles. Power outages, the lack of food and household supplies remind you every minute that you are deprived of the normal human conditions that everyone needs to live.”

Instructor at the Rehabilitation Centre Angelina (aged 26) who is expecting a child, explains her fears: “The lives of my babies are already in danger, because for the normal development of pregnancy, it is necessary to undergo regular examinations, take constant medication and of course have normal and vitamin-rich food. But during one month, I managed to face these problems that are fatal for me and need to be solved urgently because for me and for every resident of Artsakh this is a humanitarian disaster. This is definitely a war through which Azerbaijan wants to finally destroy us.” 

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Vladislov (aged 42) explains: “I encounter difficulties at every step, it takes me several hours to come to work and return home because I cannot use public transport so I have to walk. And in this winter frost, it is very likely that I may fall and make my condition even tougher. Unblocking Artsakh is very urgent for our people because the quality of our life has completely fallen.”

HART stands in solidarity with our courageous local partners and friends in Nagorno Karabakh. We encourage our supporters and followers to write to their MPs, urging the UK Government to take immediate action.

Back to News

Help our local partners realise their vision of hope for their communities