- Explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 170, higher than the initial estimate.
- The remains were sent to Armenia for DNA identification.
- The cause of the explosion near Khankendi is unclear.
A significant and tragic incident occurred in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, resulting in a much higher death toll than initially reported.
The explosion at a fuel depot claimed the lives of at least 170 people, a stark increase from the earlier estimate of 68 casualties. Authorities are now planning to send remains found at the explosion site to Armenia for identification through DNA analysis.
The explosion took place near the main city of Khankendi, known as Stepanakert among Armenians, and the cause remains unclear. The region had witnessed an influx of ethnic Armenians desperately trying to leave following its surrender to Azerbaijan.
Rescue teams are actively searching the affected area, while hospitals grapple with the challenge of treating 290 injured individuals. Medical supplies have been in short supply due to an effective blockade imposed since December 2022. Some of the injured have been evacuated by Armenian helicopters.
In the aftermath of the ceasefire agreement signed by Nagorno-Karabakh’s leaders with Azerbaijan the previous week, there has been a significant exodus of ethnic Armenians. Armenia reports that approximately 88,780 out of an estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians in the territory have already fled.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has expressed concerns that the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh may ultimately leave.
“They’re full of anxiety, they’re scared, they’re frightened and they want answers,” UNHCR Armenia representative Kavita Belani said about the tens of thousands arriving in Armenia.