COVID 19 Resources
#ArtsakhStrong #ArmeniaStrong #DiasporaStrong
Target Beneficiaries: Displaced Armenians from Artsakh
Forms of Assistance: Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), Food and Hygiene packages and vouchers, and winterization items like blankets, clothes, jackets, boots, etc. as needed
Since October 8, 2020, Aleppo-NGO has provided 8,920 meals to refugees from Artsakh who have ended up in Yerevan.
Between October 1, 2020 and November 11, 2020, Aleppo-NGO provided 6,550 meals to the medical workers (doctors, nurses, ambulance operators) of the Ministry of Health who were retrieving the wounded from Artsakh and transferring them to medical centers and hospitals in Armenia.
Since October 1, 2020, Aleppo-NGO has provided more than $30,000 in meals.
Each meal costs approximately $2.
Dear Friends, Supporters, and Compatriots:
When we (St. Kevork Armenian Church of Houston, TX and Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization in Yerevan) started the Save a Family Campaign a few months ago, we had intended to support Lebanese and Syrian Armenians struggling in Armenia as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation: 6,336 new cases have been detected in Armenia (including Aleppo-NGO’s Chief Accountant) since September 27, 2020 along with 59 deaths, while only 2,158 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, Aleppo-NGO has supported more than 2,000 Syrian, Lebanese, and local Armenians during the pandemic in Armenia via donations received on GoFundMe as well as offline donations.
Unfortunately, on August 4, 2020, the Beirut Explosion forced us to re-design our campaign to secure funds in order to assist the Armenian families who started fleeing Lebanon to Armenia. Just as Aleppo-NGO started to support recently arriving Syrian and Lebanese-Armenian families, through the provision of financial aid, Aliyev decided to launch a full scale war against the peace-seeking population of Artsakh.
Consequently, we suspended our efforts to fundraise for Lebanese and Syrian Armenians and started urging everyone around the world, Armenians and non-Armenians, to direct all their financial support to the All-Armenia Fund, which was the only official fund designated by the Armenian government to support the war efforts in Artsakh.
Aleppo-NGO did not only urge and successfully manage to convince donors who wanted to donate to Aleppo-NGO in directing their support to the All-Armenia Fund instead, but through the support of a partner organizations and individual donors, since the 3rd day of the ongoing conflict against the peaceful population of Artsakh, Aleppo-NGO started supplying lunch (prepared by Syrian-Armenian women working at its cuisine center) to the medical workers of the RA Ministry of Health who have been traveling to the front-lines on a daily basis to recover, treat, and transfer wounded civilians from the conflict zones into medical center and hospitals in Armenia.
These medical heroes have been risking everything to save as many Armenian lives as possible, so it was Aleppo-NGO’s moral duty to support them in any way possible. Unfortunately, on October 9, 2020, Aleppo-NGO as well as every Armenian was struck by the news that Vahe Meliksetyan, a graduate of YSMU Faculty of Pharmacy died on the battlefield while providing medical assistance to a wounded soldier. Vahe Meliksetyan was the founder of the board of the Armenian Society of Surgical Oncology and a member of the RA Association of Pharmacologists.
Aleppo-NGO also supplied humanitarian relief assistance collected from Syrian-Armenian community members in Armenia as well as donations from individual donors to IDPs in Artsakh through the provision of blankets, food items, winterization clothes to the appropriate bodies of the RA government which are in charge of delivering humanitarian relief to Artsakh.
Situation in Artsakh:
Aliyev’s forces backed by Erdogan and his mercenaries have been systematically targeting civilians, civilian objects, journalists, cultural institutions (in Shushi and beyond), medical workers and even Armenian holy sites like the St. Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, which was struck twice on October 8, 2020, resulting in the injury of two international (Russian) journalists and was again being targeted on October 9, 2020 while Lebanese journalists were on site to cover the extent of the damage caused to the cathedral.
On October 10, 2020, Mr. Arman Tatoyan (Ombudsman-Human Rights Defended of Armenia) visited the "Erebuni" Medical Center to check on the condition of one of the journalists who was seriously wounded during the shelling of St. Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. “The journalist asked me to tell everyone that he had seen with his own eyes how the Cathedral was targeted and bombarded, and that during the attack, only women, children and elderly were in the Cathedral. To his words, immediately after the first attack, journalists tried to help rescue civilians who were already injured, but still in the Cathedral. …and at this very moment the second missile hit the Cathedral; the journalists got injured; the cathedral was destructed because of the savage attack. The journalist in Yerevan hospital told me said that he got convinced himself that there are no military objects on the whole way to Shushi, and that there are only civilian settlements,” wrote the official page of the Ombudsman on Facebook.
According to one of the leading human rights organizations in the world, Amnesty International, Aliyev’s forces have also used illegal weapons (like Cluster Munition) against the civilian areas in Stepanakert.
After a 10-hour long meeting between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan and Armenia, mediated by the Foreign Minister of Russia, the two sides announced that a ceasefire will commence at 12pm on October 10, 2020. However, at time of writing (at 4:34 pm on October 10, 2020, nearly four and a half hours after the ceasefire was set to come into effect), there were still attacks in areas near Hadrut by Aliyev’s forces.
Aliyev's forces shelled Ghazanchetsots Cathedral and nearby areas multiple times on October 8 and 9, 2020. ©2020 Armenian Unified Infocenter
Situation of Displaced Population:
Since the beginning of the conflict on September 27, 2020, thousands of people have been displaced from Artsakh to Armenia and are in urgent need of temporary shelter as well as essential goods like winterization clothes, food, hygiene items, and other essential needs including cash assistance.
As such, Aleppo-NGO is resuming the Save a Family fundraising campaign to support the thousands of displaced persons from Artsakh first and foremost, as well as to continue supporting those displaced from Lebanon and Syria.
Since October 8, 2020, Aleppo-NGO also started supplying lunch and dinner meals to the volunteers of the RA Ministry of Social Affairs as well as displaced persons from Artsakh who have fled to Yerevan.
We hope to secure at least $100,000 via GoFundMe to compliment the efforts of a newly forming coalition, comprised of humanitarian organizations like UNHCR, Armenian Caritas, Aleppo-NGO, Mission Armenia, Armenian Red Cross, who have all been involved in the humanitarian efforts to support Syrian-Armenians in Armenia for almost a decade and are perfectly positioned to provide critical assistance to our displaced brothers and sisters from Artsakh.
We hope that the ceasefire will hold and peace-talks can resume to result in a just and peaceful resolution which respects the right of self-determination of the Armenians of Artsakh.
We urge every Armenian in the world to continue contributing to the All-Armenia Fund, which will be in charge of the reconstruction efforts in Artsakh if the ceasefire holds, but hope you can also support our efforts to support the displaced persons from Artsakh while they await the reconstruction of their homes, churches, medical and cultural centers in Stepanakert, Shushi, and across Artsakh.
Refugees who fled the Nagorno-Karabakh region at a food distribution center in Goris, Armenia, on Friday. © 2020 Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times
Beriut Explosion and its Aftermath:
The devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020, which killed at least 175 innocent people (including at least 13 Armenians) and maimed more than 6,000 (including 250 Armenians) while displacing 300,000 others, has prompted a new wave of migration from Lebanon to Armenia.
The explosion caused more than $15 Billion in damages to homes, schools, churches, mosques, cultural institutions and workplaces across Beirut.
Prior to the Beirut explosion, due to the collapse of the Lebanese economy in September 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the unemployment rate was set to increase from 12% (2019) to 30% (2020) while the poverty rate was set to increase from 30% (2019) to 45% (2020).
Unfortunately, the situation will become much worse following the devastating explosion of August 4, 2020.
Armenians in Lebanon:
According to most guesstimates, there are between 50,000 and 80,000 Lebanese-Armenians in Lebanon, primarily residing in Beirut and Anjar. Moreover, there are an additional 10,000-15,000 Syrian-Armenian refugees who had escaped the ongoing conflict in Syria and had settled in Lebanon.
In October 2019, following the collapse of the Lebanese economy which resulted in the devaluation of Lebanon's currency, the closure of businesses, and the near collapse of Lebanon's banking system (the central bank set limits on withdrawals from $US Dollar accounts owned by citizens and residents, thus restricting people's ability to access their own personal funds), the Gulbenkian Foundation carried out a survey with 512 Lebanese-Armenians.
The survey revealed that 59% of Lebanese-Armenians sought to migrate from Lebanon within the next 5-years while 49% of Lebanese-Armenians preferred to move to Armenia rather than EU countries, US, Australia, Canada, etc.
Most analysts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic which reached Lebanon on February 21, 2020 and the Beirut explosion has expedited people's plans to abandon Lebanon.
In the three weeks leading up to the horrific explosion and the three weeks after the explosion, at least 600 Lebanese and Syrian Armenians have fled to Armenia with the hope of establishing their new lives in Armenia.
Since the explosion, due to the large number of people seeking to travel from Lebanon to Armenia, the Middle East Airline added a second weekly flight from Beirut to Yerevan.
Armenians in Syria:
Since the beginning of the Syrian Conflict in 2011, more than 75% of the country's Armenian population has fled to find refuge in Armenia, Lebanon, Jordan, Europe, Canada and Gulf States.
The Armenian community of Syria, which was 80,000 strong has been decimated to less than 20,000, including less than 10,000 Armenians in Aleppo (50,000 prior to the conflict)--often regarded as the mother community of the Armenian Diaspora.
More than 300 Armenians have been killed during the Syrian Conflict and 150 have been kidnapped and disappeared. But if the conflict had not broken the spirits of the members of the remaining Armenian community in Syria, especially in Aleppo, the COVID-19 pandemic along with the collapse of the economy in Syria has left most Armenians of Syria hopeless towards their future existence in that country.
In the last month alone, more than 15 Syrian-Armenian have died of COVID-19 due to lack of access to PPEs and essential medicine. In fact, there are no official numbers on the number of Armenians who have died of COVID-19 and number of Armenians who have contracted the virus due to the absence of COVID-19 tests.
While the official figures place the number of positive tests at 2,504 and number of COVID-19 casualties at 100 (as of August 28, 2020), in reality the number is likely 1,000% more than that as most Syrians can't get tested due to lack of tests or lack of financial resources to pay for tests. Moreover, many deaths in Syria are currently being attributed to natural causes or other diseases due to lack of COVID-19 testing in the war torn country.
A few weeks ago, one Syrian Medical Group reported that more than 60 doctors have died of COVID-19 due to lack of PPEs while treating patients.
The funds raised through this campaign will support vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian families arriving to Armenia through the provision of financial assistance to cover their rent and utility fees in Yerevan and will help Aleppo-NGO provide food and hygiene vouchers and packages to these refugees.
Our Previous Work:
Aleppo-NGO's support for Lebanese-Armenians in Armenia began in May 2020, through the provision of financial assistance and food/hygiene vouchers as part of the organization's COVID-19 Relief Efforts in Armenia. Moreover, Aleppo-NGO provided university scholarships to Lebanese-Armenian students within the framework of its ongoing "Better Future for Youth" project, funded by the World Council of Churches-Armenia Round Table Foundation.
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