Markarian Appeals to International Community for Drought Relief

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian addressed a message to the governmen’s of all countries–international organizations and international community–asking for their help in overcoming the aftermath of the unprecedented drought. The message reads:

"In the second half of June 2000–the highest air temperature over the last 100 years accompanied with lack of rains was registered in Armenia–which resulted in an unprecedented drought and shortage of water.

Armenia’s agriculture has found itself in a hard situation. Crops of potatoes–forage crops–and forests were damaged. The damage inflicted by the drought and lack of water to plant-growing alone is estimated at over $40,000,000. If the inevitable losses in stock-breeding are considered–the total damage inflicted on Armenia’s agriculture will prove to be much greater.

The current situation poses a serious danger to the country’s food security–as agricultural produce makes up 60-65 percent of the domestic consumption products.

A serious shortage of irrigation water can be fled–and the water level in the country’s rivers lowered by 40-45 percent. Additional measures are necessary for making up the deficiency of irrigation water.

Material and financial resources being limited–most farmers are deprived of the possibility of purchasing seeds and fuel for the autumn and spring sowing campaigns.

Unfortunately–the current social–economic and financial situation in Armenia is a serious obstacle to overcoming the aftermath of the natural calamity.

On behalf of the Armenian government–I appeal to all the governmen’s–international organizations and international community to render possible assistance to our country in overcoming the aftermath of the natural calamity and repairing the caused damage.

I express my gratitude to all those who will be able to render possible assistance."

Prime Minister Andranik Markarian issued a decree setting up a government commission for coordinating measures aimed at overcoming the aftermath of the drought and repairing the caused damage. Minister of Coordination of the Industrial Infrastructure Activities David Zadoyan was appointed chairman of the commission.

The prime minister instructed the commission to conduct negotiations with international organizations and foreign states and specify the form and volume of the possible assistance from them within a month. The commission is also to present a program of overcoming the aftermath of the drought and repairing the caused damage as well as a corresponding schedule of the program implementation.

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