As many as 290 people were hospitalized and at least 20 others were killed on Monday, September 25 after a fuel depot explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Health Ministry of Karabakh reports.
“A strong explosion occurred in the gasoline warehouse near the Stepanakert-Askera highway,” the Karabakh authorities said in a statement.
The blast comes as tens of thousands of Armenians have been forced to flee their homeland to cross the border into Armenia, days after Azerbaijan launched a full-scale military offensive.
The blast occurred as people were lining up at the gas station to refuel their cars as they were evacuating.
Human rights ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan said in a post on X that the majority of the victims were in “severe or extremely severe” condition. He added: “The medical capacities of NK are not enough. Sanitary aviation must land very urgently to save people’s lives.”
On Tuesday morning, the Armenian authorities sent doctors and medical supplies to help manage the situation in Karabakh. Health authorities said earlier that the possibility of airlifting the wounded to Armenia was under discussion.
On September 19, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, which left hundreds of Armenians killed and thousands of others displaced. On September 20, the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to a ceasefire on Azerbaijan’s terms, including the dissolution of the Defense Army. So far, 13,550 displaced residents have already fled Nagorno-Karabakh and reached Armenia.