Waiting for peace

Arpi Bekaryan

Waiting for peace


Anush Hambardzumova and her family left Baku and had to move to Armenia in 1988, after the events in Sumgait. Hambardzumova recalls that it was not easy in the beginning, some people were not treating them well, however she could overcome the difficulties with the help of locals, who made her love Armenia. Following years the tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan grew to an armed conflict which lasted for 4 years and caused displacement of over 1 million people in total from both countries.

The same year as Hambardzumova moved to Armenia a deadly earthquake hit the north of Armenia, causing death of 25000 people and leaving more than half a million people without shelter, which as Hambardumova says made it difficult to concentrate on refugees and their housing problems.

However in 1995 with the help of UN the constructions of a small district for refugees started in Charentsavan city. The construction continued with 3 stages, ending in 2000, solving a problem of several displaced families. Nowadays, 212 people live in the district, including Hambardzumova and her family.

Despite the fact that 32 years have passed since Hambardzumova moved to Armenia, she still talks occasionally to her friends and neighbors whom she left in Baku and tears up talking about the city she was born and grew up. “Whenever they say “Armistice” and the first flight is announced, I will be the first one to buy a ticket to Baku, just to walk there as a tourist”, says Hambardzumova.