Social Welfare Dept. Assists Refugees

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Through satellite offices in different regions of the country–the Ministry of Social Welfare fully realizes the problems of refugees living in 580 populated areas of Armenia’said Mekhak Gabrielian–chief of the Department for Refugee Affairs of the Ministry of Social Welfare at a Tuesday press conference.

Gabrielian pointed out that this year the government assigned $300 million for the construction of homes for refugees in five Armenian towns–Ashtarak–Talin–Sevan–Jermuk–Artashat–which will provide one hundred families with housing. About 200 families will be provided with homes constructed in Artik–Chambarak–Martuni and Goris from funds allocated by the United Nations. Homes are also planned to be constructed in Charentsavan–Stepanavan and Hrazdan.

According to ministry data–about 55,000 refugees are jobless today–despite the fact that only 6,000 of them are officially registered as unemployed.

Gabrielian reported that certain steps are being taken to solve the problem of unemployment among refugees.

In particular–the Ministry of Social Welfare–jointly with the UN Mission in Armenia and the American "Service of Catholic Aid" organization lend up to $600 to refugees of the Siunik region to set up small businesses. The sum is issued for six months at an interest rate of two percent without security.

Through a labor migration program this year fifteen students were sent to work in Germany for summer. Labor migration agreemen’s have been signed with 25 countries.

According to Gabrielian–$200 million is needed to solve all refugee problems.

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