More than 11,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Armenia. Most are ethnic Armenians whose families originally fled the 1915-16 Armenian genocide in which more than 1 million Armenians were killed.
One-third of the existing Armenian population already live in poverty and 18 per cent are unemployed. It is a situation that does not bode well for the refugees – almost none are able to find employment and consequently they quickly use up the resources they bring.
Following a very successful Rapid Response Fund programme in 2012, an appeal in 2013 raised US$96,096 and was disbursed to an ACT member. The goal of the response was to assist 942 Syrian refugee families in Armenia.
Most of the refugees arrived with little and hoped to return home soon. However, as the conflict has intensified and prolonged, this has not been possible and they have been forced to rely on assistance.
With many refugees living with extended family in the capital Yerevan, in often cramped, overcrowded conditions, the situation is challenging for their hosts too. Our member used a reliable direct transfer system to get food and basic essentials to the refugees through the use of plastic charge cards from a supermarket chain.
The cards can be used by cardholders to buy the items they most need, but do not allow the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes.