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Wednesday, November 11, 2020 : By Nathan Skates
As fighting continues to rage between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Samaritan’s Purse is stepping in to provide relief for refugees.
Samaritan’s Purse will be flying in 11 tons of winter supplies to refugees who have fled the conflict. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region since late September. Azerbaijan, which is majority Muslim, and Armenia, a majority Christian country, began warring over the area in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. That initial conflict ended in a cease-fire in 1994.
Today, the area is recognized as Azerbaijan’s territory but is primarily populated by Armenians.
Despite the 1994 ceasefire, the dispute over the territory has continued and no long-term solution has been reached.
The current fighting has been marked by continuous bombings, causing heavy damage to civilian areas. Civilians of both nations have been forced to take shelter or flee the area as bombs continue to rain down upon the disputed region.
Death tolls are unclear, but the numbers could be in the thousands. The nations previously agreed to two ceasefires, but both were broken. President Trump announced on October 25 that the United States had helped to broker a third ceasefire.
Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said,
“The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is heartbreaking. Families are caught in the crossfire of a brutal war, and thousands have been forced to flee. Samaritan’s Purse is bringing critical relief to people in need — reminding hurting families that they are not alone and that God loves them. Please pray for God’s protection as families seek to escape the conflict, and for our teams as they help in Jesus’ Name.”
It is estimated that about 80,000 people have traveled approximately 200 miles to Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. Samaritan’s Purse will be distributing food to these refugees. The organization reports that they will also deliver enough boots, coats, gloves, socks, and thermal underwear for 500 families.
Winter clothes may not sound like an exciting gift for many Americans, but for these refugees, they will be cherished. Some of these families will have less than optimum shelter and local temperatures are dropping into the 30s. These winter supplies could mean the difference between life and death for people who have already suffered greatly.