YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–One of the immediate tasks of the Governmental Department for Migration and Refugees is to conduct a census of refugees in Armenia after which it will be possible to solve related problems–Department Head Gagik Yeganian said in a Noyan Tapan interview. There are approximately 313,000 refugees in Armenia according to three-year-old data. Sixty thousand refugees have left the republic in search of earnings. However–such data is likely to be inaccurate. Precise data on refugees will be obtained only after the census is taken.
In Yeganian’s opinion–housing is the most vital problem for refugees–and the UNHCR’s Shelter Program effective since 1994 facilitates solutions to housing problems. A total of 2,600 cottages have been built in various provinces under this program. About 200 cottages are constructed every year–yet approximately 14,000 families still need homes. Thus far–houses for refugees have been built outside the capital only–but this restriction will soon be reconsidered and refugees will be provided with flats located in Yerevan. New flats will but built old ones will be purchased and rebuilt.
About 12,000 refugees are known to have acquired Armenian citizenship thanks to explanatory work and less bureaucracy in passport issuing.