From 19 to 21 April, 2019, 17 journalists from Public Radio, irates.am, jamnews.am, panorama.am, Golos Armenii, Haykakan Zhamanak, meganews.am, Arminfo and Shant TV participated in the first media trip for 2019 organized by ICMPD in Armenia in Lori Province including Geghasar and Shirakamut villages of Spitak region, and Alaverdi town, Shnogh and Teghut villages.

Shirakamut and Geghasar villages were the epicentrum of Spitak earthquake in 1988. Up to now some villagers still live in the temporary construction-houses without the appropriate conveniences. The migration situation in Spitak region is quite bad: around 90% of the males are seasonal migrants due to lack of the appropriate conditions for agricultural development and absence of the production factories. Transfers from the budget are required for implementation of the rural infrastructural development programs, however, one of the necessary preconditions for the village to participate is co-funding equalling to at least 5 million AMD. The majority of villages have no budget means that is why they cannot apply for the implementation of such programs.

In contrast with Spitak region, until recently Alaverdi town, Shnogh and Teghut villages have been developing through production and industrial sector. Alaverdi has always been one of the industrial centers of Armenia. However, the suspension of operations of the production giants Alaverdi copper melting factory and Teghut copper and molybdenum open pit mine had extremely negative social and economic impact on this region leading to the increase of migration flows from Alaverdi and nearby villages.The head of Shnokh community informed that Teghut copper and molybdenum mine will re-launch its operations soon, which will create at least 400 working places for the villagers. When asked by the journalists if the re-launching of operations will positively impact the nearby villages considering possible ecological problems, the elder clarified, that if the opening of the mine started from scratch, he would be against it. But since the open pit mine had already been opened, its full suspension can lead to much worse perverse effects both in terms of ecology and migration.

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