‘Severe malnutrition’ is growing concern as thousands flee Nagorno-Karabakh, senior US official warns

The growing humanitarian crisis in and around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region has raised the alarm among international relief and human rights groups, as the region remains mired in a conflict that has displaced thousands of people.

A senior US official warned that “severe malnutrition” is becoming increasingly common, with more than 100,000 people having been displaced due to fighting that began on Sept. 27 between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.

The US envoy for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the violence has hampered delivery of food and aid to thousands of people.

“At least 100,000 people have been displaced by violence in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, and it’s hard to meet short-term needs when humanitarian assistance continues to be hindered due to physical security risks and tensions,” Ambassador James Warlick said in a statement.

He noted that the situation in the region is “among the most urgent to face a human rights crisis of this magnitude.”

The fighting has left more than 400 people dead so far, according to international observers, and reports of civilians being deliberately targeted in the conflict and war crimes have mounted. The Azerbaijan-backed Turkish military is also reportedly exacerbating the violence by providing military assistance to Azerbaijani forces and deploying armed drones over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Warlick called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to immediately begin a meaningful political dialogue to end the conflict and pave the way for humanitarian aid to reach those in dire need. He warned that failure to do so would have “catastrophic consequences” for civilians in the region.