Eni, the Italian oil
and natural gas company, is donating U.S. $2.25 million to the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist
the government of Azerbaijan in settling 400 families of internally
displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the regions of Aghjabadi,
Barda and Ganja.
This donation represents the largest single European corporate
contribution to UNHCR in recent years.
According to the UNHCR, there are nearly 850,000 refugees and
IDPs in Azerbaijan, including more than 650,000 displaced by
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. About 11 percent of the country's
population have fled their homes, often leaving nearly everything
Eni has committed $2.5 million to help rehabilitate refugees
whose homes have been destroyed and who had to live in subhuman
conditions since 1992-93.
The purpose of the 18-month project is to enhance the overall
socio-economic sustainability of the communities and to promote
greater independence from external assistance. It includes constructing
single-family limestone shelters complete with water, electricity
and sanitary services as well as community and educational facilities
(including schools, day-care centers, community centers and health
The project will promote
income generating opportunities and small business assistance
in the agriculture, cottage and handicraft sectors by means of
community-managed micro credit lending schemes, village savings
programs, training and extension activities and business development
To ensure better access to primary health care services, it will
promote community health care committees and groups, strengthen
primary care facilities and provide infrastructure support, training
It will also address the severe shortage of drinkable water in
the Lachin Winter grounds by promoting a water resource management
scheme involving the drilling and rehabilitation of wells and
the provision of storage tanks to meet the demand for water.
Eni has been operating in Azerbaijan through its subsidiary Agip
Azerbaijan since 1995. Together with local authorities and international
organizations, Eni is helping the Azerbaijani people cope with
critical social and health issues. The company has supported
the World Health Organization project, which assists the Ministry
of Health in malaria prevention and control. It has also financed,
with its partner oil companies participating in the Kurdashi
offshore Consortium, UNICEF's Primary Health Care Revitalization
program aimed at improving the health conditions of mothers and
children in the Neftchala and Lankaran districts.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, provides protection and assistance
to over 21 million refugees, internally displaced persons and
others of concern. UNHCR's annual budget totals about U.S. $1
billion, and the agency operates in 120 countries around the
world. UNHCR has twice been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for
its humanitarian work.
(8.1) Spring 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.
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