Karabakh separatists say at least 68 dead in fuel blast

By AFP
September 27, 2023

YEREVAN: At least 68 people died in a fuel depot explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh, local authorities in Azerbaijan´s separatist region said on Tuesday, as thousands fled after Baku´s successful offensive.

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The separatist government said in a statement that “there are 68 confirmed deaths”, adding 290 people were injured and another 105 unaccounted for. Most of those wounded were in a “severe or extremely severe” condition after the blast at the facility near the regional capital of Stepanakert on Monday evening, according to the Armenian health ministry . The death toll from the blast is expected to rise significantly, with more than 100 still listed as missing.The cause of the blast, which happened as residents were lining up to get fuel for their cars in order to leave the region, remains unknown.

Medical centres in Stepanakert were at capacity on Tuesday evening, with staff calling for an airlift to Armenia of critically injured patients. “At this moment we do not have any medical resources left,” a hospital official told Siranush Sargsyan, a Stepanakert-based freelance journalist, adding that they were out of anti-burn antibiotics. “We have a very high number of burn patients … We need to urgently evacuate our patients to specialised burn units in Yerevan.”

Armenian officials said they had dispatched a team of doctors on a medical helicopter from Yerevan to Stepanakert to aid the response. Russian said it had dispatched several helicopters to evacuate survivors to Armenia.

Artak Beglaryan, a former human rights ombudsman for the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh government who is still in Stepanakart, wrote that dozens of people were in critical condition.

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