Health professionals in the southern Armenia province of Syunik say there is a serious lack of doctors and nurses there – especially in areas outside the main populations. Consequently, residents requiring medical attention must travel distances over curving mountainous roads that can be dangerous at speed, and become impassable in winter.
Ashot Tsatryan, Head of the Healthcare and Welfare Department of Syunik Regional Administration Body (marzpetaran) considers the problem of understaffing in the healthcare sphere a priority.
“In the whole province today we have a need for more than 65 doctors, mainly specialists,” the official says.
Faced with a sudden and significant rise in prices of goods following last weeks adjusted of the Armenian dram, plus announced increases in utilities taking effect April 1, many Armenian families are forced to revise household budgets.
Heghine Balyan, a 49-year old Yerevan housewife in a family of 6, believes that soon she will need double the amount of what she spent before.
The former merchant is sure that prices will double soon: “If the shops increased the prices of the goods they still had in stock in one day, I can imagine how much they will increase the prices of the goods that will be imported.”
Uncertainty has been the mood for several months in the town of Agarak, 400 km south of Yerevan.
Work has stopped at Agarak Copper Molybdenum Complex – the buses that took people to the factory don’t wait at the specially allocated bus stop in the morning, no trucks transporting the mined rocks are seen on the road from the mine to the factory, passers-by are no longer bothered by the thunder of the huge machines crashing rocks, the copper dust no longer goes up into the air…
Edik Baghyan, 63, a resident of Agarak on the Armenian-Iranian border, now has more time to cultivate his garden.
He comes in the morning and leaves late in the evening, because the Copper Molybdenum Complex, where the 63-year old machine-operator had worked for 45 years, has stopped working due to the international economic crisis.
“I am on a leave, but many have been made redundant, handed in their labor record books, and sent home. Will they call us back later? How will that be? All is unclear,” he says, digging his 500-square meter patch of land with a spade and sowing potatoes.
The phone calls at Marine Hovhannisyan’s house are not answered. Marine is the sister of Zackar Hovhannisyan, a victim of March 1, 2008. Those who know this family, say that they do not want to talk to journalists.
Currently Zackar’s relatives live at his apartment in Malatia-Sebastia community. The only person, his father, who was taken care of by Zackar, died last year, too. Zackar’s sister is married. His mother died long ago. Zackar’s brother died in Kalbajar, during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“They do not communicate with journalists,” says Lilit Dalaloyan, the wife of David Petrosyan, who was also killed in the Yerevan melee.
“I get terrified by the idea that March 1 is approaching, I don’t want it, because on March 1 I will relive this same pain and suffering.”
A year of pain and suffering began for 33-year old Lilit Dalaloyan when a 10 p.m. phone call was the last she heard of her husband, David Petrosyan.
As the black anniversary approaches, the widow recalls going into the night in search of her husband who had said he was on his way home. After he hadn’t shown for more than an hour Lilit and 13-year old son Varuzhan caught a taxi and went looking. . .
Beef, cut into pieces and boiled. Potatoes, boiled and cut into pieces. This is Melissa Brown’s Wednesday.
“People in jail are not allowed any other food,” Brown explains, preparing her weekly visit to her husband. He’s a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, but Alexander Arzumanyan is more recently one of the “Case of 7” – jailed on charges of trying to overthrow the government last March 1.
“It’s like I’m getting ready for a birthday party each time. When I know that besides my husband, the four other guys who are in prison with him are going to eat what I’ve cooked, I think I should make it tasty, but one is not allowed to take tasty things to prison,” the wife says.
Opposition leader LevonTer-Petrosyan address his supporters in a rally Sunday, marking the one year anniversary of last March 1’s deadly conflict, telling a few thousand supporters that: “ “the authorities did nothing to punish the real trespassers” of last year’s deadly clashes.
Vowing that his followers are resolute, the first president of Armenia said: “People are no more afraid of prisons and violence, they will not retreat, they will not be disappointed... It is high time for the authorities to understand that their efforts to depress the nation, to make people speechless are destructive not only for people but also for themselves.”
Twenthy-eight-year-old Varduhi Baghdasaryan says almost voicelessly that she does not want to talk about anything related to her husband. She is the widow of Grigor Gevorgyan who became a chance victim of March 1 events.
“I apologize a thousand times, but I have no wish to talk about it. It has happened for about three times – I talked to reporters, my words were twisted and printed, and that’s why I don’t want it. Once again, I am sorry, but I don’t want to,” says Grigor’s wife and closes the door of the small one-room house in Kond, where she has been living with her two children and without her husband for a year.