Baku, 3 October 2023 (TDI): On Sunday, October 1st, a delegation from the United Nations (UN), under the guidance of Vladanka Andreeva, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan, embarked on a mission to explore the Karabakh region within the country.

The delegation, headed by the UN Resident Coordinator, was joined by Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of the Coordination Division at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The team also comprised members from the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Technical experts from various UN offices, including the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the UN Department of Safety and Security, were also part of the delegation.

The UN mission arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh after the latest developments in the region. Azerbaijani officials confirmed the mission’s early arrival on October 1 to assess urgent humanitarian needs in the region.

It is pertinent to note that, in a significant milestone, the UN has secured access to the region after a hiatus of approximately three decades.

Following a recent Azerbaijani offensive, ethnic Armenians, who had been in control of Nagorno-Karabakh for thirty years, have agreed to disarm and dissolve their government.

During their visit to specific city areas, the team observed intact civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, housing, and cultural sites.

They noted the Republic of Azerbaijan’s efforts to restore health services and utilities. However, no shops were operational at the time of the mission.

The UN team observed a sparse local population in the city, with estimates suggesting only between 50 and 1,000 ethnic Armenians remained.

The team was deeply moved by the abrupt departure of residents from their homes and the evident distress this displacement caused.

Due to restricted rural access, data on livestock, farming readiness, and wheat sowing in the approaching season were unavailable. The mission noted intact agricultural infrastructure and the absence of deceased animals during their observation.

The mission’s journey along the Lachin road, traveled by over 100,000 ethnic Armenians recently, revealed a significant absence of civilian vehicles heading to Armenia.

In Khankendi, they observed a bus with a few passengers en route to Armenia. In Aghdam, part of the territories reclaimed in 2020, the mission witnessed urgent mine action needs amid destruction, alongside commendable reconstruction efforts led by the Government.

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The mission expressed gratitude to local communities and stakeholders for their valuable insights and pledges for continued engagement.

Emphasizing the need for safeguarding local rights, the UN in Azerbaijan reaffirmed its commitment to aiding the remaining population and returnees, working closely with the Azerbaijani Government and collaborators.