23 000 Refugees Return to Nagorno Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh continue to return to their homes.

Over the last five years–following the large-scale attack launched by the Azeri army in the summer of 1992 which forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes–23,000 refugees have returned to the Republic–the Karabakh Social Welfare Ministry reported Thursday.

All travel and cargo transportation expenses are covered by the government of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

This year the government has already spent a total of 2 million drams for this purpose.

Simultaneously–the government is implementing a program on construction and restoration of the housing–under which 3,060 houses have been put into operation.

A total of 11,000 residential buildings were damaged in Nagorno-Karabakh during the war.

This year the government has spent 350 million drams on restoration of housing.

The majority of returnees–the Ministry said–are from the Mardakert region of the republic where about 30 villages are yet to be restored.

Residents of villages from areas currently occupied by the Azeri army are provided with temporary lodging in other settlemen’s. Initially–returnees are provided with financial support–while the population of border regions is provided with cattle and poultry.

Tens of thousands of refugees–including 16,000 people from the totally occupied Shahumian region–are still living outside of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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