The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spent more on photographers for Samantha Power’s, the agency’s administrator, October visit to Armenia than it did on humanitarian programs within Artsakh over the past three years, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said on Tuesday.
“No aid. No airlift. Outright abandonment. An epic USAID failure on every level,” the Committee added.
ANCA’s remarks were in response to Power’s Tuesday statement regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh two months after the aggression of Azerbaijan forced over 100,000 Armenians to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring Armenia.
FACT: USAID spent more on photographers for @PowerUSAID's October visit to Armenia than it did on humanitarian programs within Artsakh over the past three years.
No aid. No airlift. Outright abandonment.
An epic @USAID failure on every level.
— ANCA (@ANCA_DC) November 21, 2023
In her statement, Power announced an additional $4 million in aid to assist the displaced individuals, bringing the total US humanitarian assistance for the Nagorno-Karabakh response to $28 million since 2020.
Power also expressed gratitude for the Armenian government’s generous reception of the displaced population and said that the US support in ensuring that those affected receive the necessary assistance would continue.
“On my recent visit to Armenia, I got to hear directly from many of the displaced people from NK [Nagorno-Karabakh] about the tremendous hardship, and heartbreak, of having to flee their homes,” said Power.
During the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh to Armenians), which resulted in the displacement of most of the Armenian population, USAID had faced criticism that the amount of humanitarian aid it provided to civilians in the region was too low.
According to the ANCA, the US government had also sent military aid to Azerbaijan and refused to impose sanctions on the country despite calls from the Armenian community, while also failing to allocate aid to the region since the 2020 war.
The lightning offensive against the self-declared Republic of Artsakh was launched by neighbouring Azerbaijan on 20 September and eventually resulted in Azeri forces taking control of the region, forcing an estimated 70,500 Armenians to flee the region in the following days.
Ethnic Armenians in the enclave had been defending the self-declared republic for three decades. Despite its geographical location within Azerbaijan’s territory, the region had functioned autonomously for decades and maintained its de facto government.