The HALO Trust Mobilizes to Counter COVID-19 in Nagorno Karabakh

Nagorno Karabakh remains one of the most isolated regions in the world, receiving little assistance or outside aid. Last month, the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed and if the outbreak spreads, the results could be devastating. 

For 20 years, The HALO Trust has been clearing landmines in Karabakh that threaten people’s lives and livelihoods. Currently, they are one of two international organizations working in the region, the other bring the International Committee of the Red Cross. As a part of the charity’s greater effort to respond to the emergency need caused by COVID-19, HALO is helping protect people in Karabakh from the pandemic. 

In mid-April, they quickly mobilized a COVID-19 response and distributed hygiene supplies to Kichan village. Later that month, they also conducted distributions in Nor Ghazanchi and several villages in the Lachin region whose residents would have little means of obtaining the supplies they need to stay safe from a potential COVID-19 outbreak. 

HALO is also assisting with a national health emergency, having donated protective face masks to local hospitals. They have also begun outfitting their vehicles to serve as ambulances that can safely transport COVID-19 patients from remote areas to hospital. With over 30 four-wheel-drive vehicles, HALO is best equipped to safely reach villages tucked in Karabakh’s mountainous terrain.

“With little aid or outside help, a COVID-19 outbreak would be devastating for Nagorno Karabakh,” explains Robert Syfret, Program Manager for HALO in Nagorno Karabakh. “We recognize the responsibility that comes with being one of the few international humanitarian organizations working in Karabakh during this global pandemic. We have the manpower, the ambulances and the scale to make a difference and protect families in Nagorno Karabakh from the threat of COVID-19.”

HALO’s distribution activities have reached 111 households, totalling 441 people in six villages. Each household was provided a kit with soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, gloves, and brochures containing COVID-19 prevention guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

If you would like to support The HALO Trust’s work in Nagorno Karabakh, you may donate online. All donations to the response fund currently are being matched by an anonymous donor.

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Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.
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