We'd like to give you a quick update from Spitak.
At the beginning of October, the Spitak YMCA accepted two extended families who fled from Nagorno-Karabakh.
On November 9, the war ended with a cease-fire. In this agreement, large parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh region were ceded to Azerbaijani control.
The husbands of the two families were luckier than over 2500 others: They survived the war at the front and returned to their families in Spitak after the cease-fire. One family's house in Martakert was badly damaged in the war, but makeshift repairs have been made. During the repair work, the family was still accomodated at and supported by the Spitak YMCA. Shortly before their shorter access road came under Azerbaijani control at the end of November, the family travelled back home. This way, they did not have to take the longer route with all of their children and seniors.
The family from Hadrut, on the other hand, lost all of their belongings and their home to the war. Their village now belongs to Azerbaijan and they have no access to it. The Spitak YMCA is now discussing the possibility of them renting an appartment in Spitak. The family will continue to be accomodated at the Spitak YMCA for as long as necessary.
But the Spitak YMCA doesn't just want to help this one family. They see great potential in long-term aid and integration of refugees. Various future possibilities are now being evaluated. The large amount of donations we have received will allow us to make a starting investment in such a project.
Armenia is understandably struggling hard to recover from this devastating war, as well as the severe and continuing coronavirus outbreak. Every Armenian has been deeply affected by the trauma, the fear and the hopelessness. Frustration with indifferent reactions from other countries and the fear of future wars are understandable reactions. These problems are compounded by domestic political tensions.
In the midst of this difficult situation, the Spitak YMCA is helping to give people hope and a new perspective. Young volunteers and employees do invaluable work in supporting the refugees, offering childcare and a meal service for the local hospital. Some activities, like opening a gym, are slowly being restarted. We are in close contact with our Armenian partners - they send their love and are grateful for all the support they have received.