Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan on Thursday announced that an additional nine Armenian families from Lebanon will be settling in Artsakh in the near future. Last week, the Artsakh government announced that two families had decided to settle in Artsakh.
During a meeting with Armenia’s High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan in Yerevan, President Harutyunyan said the all relevant administrative elements for the families’ settlement in Artsakh have been completed.
Artsakh has joined the global effort to assist the Lebanese Armenian community since the August 4 blast in Beirut, which has left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. The Armenian community in Lebanon has reported that 13 of its members were killed, while several hundred are still recovering from their injuries.
“I reiterate that every effort must be made to preserve the [Armenian] community in Lebanon. However, for those of our compatriots who have decided to move to another country, the preferred option should be a return to the Homeland,” President Harutyunyan said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Artsakh’s government has earmarked 25 million drams (about $51,000) from its reserve funds for the Armenian community of Lebanon. In addition, more than 17 million drams have been raised for the government’s discretionary account. There are several initiatives being implemented to increase capacity of the funds, which will be used to help the Lebanese Armenian community.
Artsakh also sent emergency humanitarian supplies to Lebanon. The parcels were part of Armenia’s first humanitarian airlift to Lebanon soon after the explosion.
In a related matter, Sinanyan told parliament on Friday that more than 800 Lebanese Armenians had arrived in Armenia since July 1.
“Until now 800 Lebanese-Armenians have arrived in Armenia, some of them came before the Beirut explosion but after July 1, when the first plane landed in Yerevan, with the rest arriving after the August 4 explosion,” Sinanyan explained in a briefing to the National Assembly.
“This is an ongoing process,” added Sinanyan. “There are two flights from Beirut to Armenia every week. Almost all the flights are full.”
He explained that the Diaspora Affairs office tries to help the repatriates, who upon arriving in Armenia, face different challenges.