Explosion at Fuel Depot Rocks Stepanakert

An explosion on Sept. 25 at a fuel depot near Stepanakert has caused hundreds of injures and fatalities

Artsakh authorities are calling for urgent airlifts to evacuate hundreds of injured after an explosion at a fuel depot on Monday rocked an already tense Stepanakert.

The Nagorno-Karabakh State Service of Emergency Situations said the explosion took place at a fuel depot near the Stepanakert-Askeran road. The powerful blast resulted in deaths and injuries. The authorities did not specify the number of victims.

Multiple people with burns have been hospitalized.

Artsakh Parliament member Metakse Hakobyan told Armenpress that the gas station where the explosion happened is outside Stepanakert but close to the city.

“A gasoline warehouse exploded. The warehouse was used to distribute fuel to those who wanted to leave Artsakh by cars. Hundreds of people were gathered there when the explosion took place,” Hakobyan said.

The fuel depot was about two kilometers away from the city.  “The explosion was very powerful,” Hakopyan said.

Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan said that more than 200 people were injured. He said the injured are in severe condition and require immediate medical attention.

He warned that Artsakh is unable to provide sufficient medical assistance to the wounded.

“Medical assistance is being provided to those wounded in the Republican Medical Center and the Stepanakert Children’s Hospital in conditions of limited possibilities in terms of treatment and medications, which is insufficient. There is an urgent need to evacuate those wounded by airlift to save their lives,” he said.

The Artsakh health ministry said that weather conditions have impeded the transport of injured civilians to Armenia.

Saying that all possible measures were being taken to ensure the transportation of those injured because of the explosion of the fuel tank near Stepanakert by air and ground transport, the health ministry said that visibility at night, coupled with a rain storm, prevent further evacuation of patients.

“Medical personnel from Armenia, burn experts and intensive care specialists are in constant contact with their colleagues from Stepanakert. They are providing advisory support in organizing medical assistance to the victims of the explosion at a gasoline tank in the area near Stepanakert-Askeran roadway. The work on organizing the transportation of the wounded to Armenia by helicopter is being actively carried out,” the health ministry added.

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS