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More than $3.8B spent to solve problems of refugees and IDPs

10 October 2016 13:55 (UTC+04:00)
More than $3.8B spent to solve problems of refugees and IDPs

By Rashid Shirinov

More than 6.2 billion manats ($3.85 billion) has been spent to address the problems of refugees and IDPs, who are the most sensitive and vulnerable part of the population of Azerbaijan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Refugees and IDPs, Ali Hasanov announced about this at a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Ilham Aliyev on October 7.

A total of 2.8 billion manats ($1.74 billion) of the figure have been provided from the state budget, 2 billion manats ($1.24 billion) by the State Oil Fund, and 1.4 billion manats ($0.87 billion) by international financial institutions and international humanitarian organizations operating in Azerbaijan.

Ali Hasanov went on to say that 95 modern residential complexes with a total area of 3.2 million square meters were built through funding of the State Oil Fund. A total of 5,000 families or more than 250,000 refugees and IDPs were provided with new apartments.

Along with all technical infrastructure, 150 schools, 58 cultural centers, 59 kindergartens, 58 medical centers, two Olympic Sports Complexes were built in the new residential areas, Hasanov added.

He also stressed that 260 houses in Agdam and Tartar regions of Azerbaijan, which were damaged by Armenian armed forces' shelling in early April 2016, have been restored.

The deputy premier further informed that a package of proposals has been presented to the Prime Minister in order to apply new rules and principle of social justice in the disbursement of funds allocated to IDPs.

"The matter is planned to be discussed in the coming days with the participation of heads of corresponding ministries and service organizations under the Prime Minister," said Hasanov during his speech. He noted that the new rules will be applied from January 2017.

Appropriate measures will also be taken aimed at improving the living standards of IDPs, who have relatively weak abilities and living in harsh conditions.

Ali Hasanov particularly stressed that during the past 13 years, 161,000 able-bodied people out of 380,000 IDPs were provided with permanent job in budget organizations and in other areas, while 200,000 people were provided with temporary jobs.

"This is two times more as compared to 2003. As a result, the poverty level among IDPs decreased from 74 to 12 percent," Hasanov said.

In order to increase the employment of internally displaced persons and develop entrepreneurship, the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support allocated 7.7 million manats ($4.78 million) micro-loans to 11,000 IDPs, and low-interest loans worth 40 million manats ($24.82 million) to 2,000 IDP entrepreneurs, Ali Hasanov noted.

Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan laying territorial claims on its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.

Due to the ethnic cleansing policy carried out by Armenia and the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, the number of refugees and internally displaced persons hit more than 1.2 million.

With a population of over 9.6 million, Azerbaijan is among the countries carrying the highest IDP caseload in the world in per capita terms.


Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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