HALO’s Emergency OPERATIONS:
Immediate Relief, Risk Education and Cluster Bomb Tracking
On the 27 September, the worst fighting in decades erupted over Nagorno Karabakh. The recent fighting began as helicopter, drone and tank clashes on the line of contact and has escalated with rocket and artillery attacks.
Families have been forced to abandon their homes and flee to shelters.
HALO immediately ceased clearance operations and began distributing food, hygiene kits and other items to civilians forced into bomb shelters. In particular, HALO is working to mitigate the risk of Covid spread in the shelters.
As the intensity of attacks on cities has increased, including the use of cluster munitions, HALO has produced risk education materials identifying dangerous munitions and instructing local people to leave them to specialists. Local TV channels are using HALO materials to broadcast the same safety messages on the hour.
We are mapping areas of explosives contamination that will pose a danger after the conflict. This mapping will allow us to immediately begin high-priority clearance of hazardous devices as soon as the shelling stops. The highest risk to civilians is always in the immediate aftermath of conflict when displaced people try to return home.
The status of Nagorno Karabakh means there are few international aid agencies able to work in the territory. HALO is coordinating its humanitarian effort with those that are there. We have provided others with HALO protective equipment so they can lower the risk of carrying out their relief work.
HALO has the largest humanitarian operation in the region and we are able to monitor the situation through staff and our networks to protect and support civilians during the crisis and as we prepare a comprehensive response once hostilities cease.
HALO is distributing the information leaflets below in response to the use of cluster munitions on major towns and cities. These have a high failure rate and should not be approached. Videos have appeared on social media of people picking the devices up.
If you have followers in Karabakh, you can help us spread this urgent safety message by sharing the images below on your social channels.