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Armenian crisis explained

26 October 20230 comments

Armenia is a part of the world most Australians have heard little about.

Recently, it has been enveloped in a refugee crisis that has seen more than whole communities uprooted.

Here’s what’s happening. 

Following the escalation of a decades-long conflict in the region at the end of September 2023, more than 100,000 refugees were forced to flee from their homes to Armenia.

A majority of refugees are arriving in Goris — a small border town in south-eastern Armenia — where they’re receiving support from humanitarian organizations.

As of October 6, 2023, the humanitarian emergency in the South Caucasus has forced more than 100,600 refugees to flee to Armenia.

An average of 15,000 people are arriving per day, with a peak of 40,000 refugees entering the country on September 27, 2023. The total number of new arrivals now constitutes 3.3 percent of the entire Armenian population (2.8 million), or 1 in 30 people.

Before this crisis, there were already 35,000 refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people of other nationalities living in Armenia. 

After arriving in Armenia, many refugees are settling in areas where they have family, access to services and feel supported.

Refugees are now located in different regions in Armenia with a majority residing in the capital, Yerevan (43 percent), followed by Syunik (15 percent), Kotayk (9 percent) and Ararat (8 percent).

Many refugees who arrived in Goris plan on staying in the area rather than relocating further away from home. 

The refugees fleeing to Armenia include vulnerable groups such as older people, women and children, pregnant women and newborns, people living with disabilities and people with chronic health conditions.

More than half of the refugees are women and girls; approximately 30 per cent are children and 18 per cent are elderly. 

When the emergency began, families were forced to flee their homes at a moment’s notice with just the few possessions they could bring, spending several days on the road with very little food and water.

After experiencing many hardships on the road to Armenia, refugees arrived traumatised, exhausted and hungry. They and need urgent psychosocial support and emergency assistance, including warm clothes and medicine. 

The host community in Armenia has responded to this refugee crisis with support and generosity.

They are lending their support to families in need by volunteering their time and opening their doors to those in need of shelter.

National and municipal authorities across the region are actively responding to this crisis as well, working with volunteers, national and local nongovernmental organisations and civil society actors to support those in need.

To find out how you can help:

Red Cross info page:

How to donate: