On 20-22 September ICMPD in Armenia organized media tour to Syunik region. 15 journalists from Public Radio, irates.am, Haykakan Zhamanak, A1plus, Shant TV, Sputnik Armenia, hetq.am, Haydzayn.am and past.info visited Antarashat, Tavrus, Lichk, Tashtun villages and Meghri town. The journalists met with the heads of villages, mayor of Meghri and local population to discuss the problems that trigger migration in Syunik.
Despite the fact that compared with numerous villages in Armenia the supply of drinking and irrigation water in Syunik region is quite high, local population is not much engaged in farming. They are more inclined to leave for nearby Kapan and Kajaran towns where mining companies ensure high and stable salaries. This describes the sudden, sharp decrease in the size of a population in the villages. The heads of the villages state that it is very risky to do farming or livestock breeding in these parts due to unfavourable climate conditions. The head of Antarashat village brought an example of a recent strong hail which in half an hour swept everything off destroying the majority of gardens in the village. The villagers will leave villages until the issue of the absence of agricultural insurance, especially in the regions with high climate risks, is solved.
Thanks to recently made footpath that connects Tatev monastery with Kapan the tourists put some spirit into the villages. One of the village houses in Antarashat village is even adopted to serve as a hostel. However, it is too early to talk about tourism as an essential income source for the locals.
Another problem stated in Lichk and Tashtun villages is the problem of the absence of heating and gas. These high-mountain villages are characterised by very low air temperature starting from the middle of September until beginning of May, especially at nights. It is prohibited by Law to cut wood in the nearby forests. The villagers asked the journalists to raise the issue of heating through permission to use at least dead-wood which will contribute to sanitary cleaning of the forests.
This was the last media trip for 2019 organized by ICMPD office in Armenia within MIBMA project.