STEPANAKERT — Nagorno-Karabakh’s public transport system will be brought to a complete halt on Tuesday because of severe shortages of fuel caused by Azerbaijan’s continuing blockade of the Armenian-populated region.
Karabakh authorities said on Monday that they have run out of scarce fuel reserved from buses and minibuses. They already suspended earlier this month public transport in Stepanakert and curtailed bus services with other Karabakh towns and villages for the same reason.
The vast majority of vehicles in Karabakh are powered by natural gas which was supplied from Armenia before being pressurized and sold at local gas stations. Azerbaijan disrupted a steady flow of the gas shortly after blocking commercial traffic through the Lachin corridor last December. A gas pipeline feeding Karabakh was most recently unblocked for just a few hours on July 8.
The fuel crisis not only disrupted travel but also complicated food supplies inside Karabakh. Local farmers now have trouble taking their produce to markets, and there are growing problems with the delivery of flour to bakeries.
The humanitarian crisis is also affecting Karabakh’s struggling healthcare system. The head of an intensive care unit at Karabakh’s main children’s hospital said on Monday that it is increasingly hard for the parents of seriously ill children living outside Stepanakert to transport them to the facility.