Dozens dead, hundreds missing in fuel station explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh

NAGORNO-KARABAKH — The death toll from the devastating explosion and fire at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh continues to rise as bodies of the hundreds still missing are found.

As the affected region grapples with the aftermath of the explosion, authorities have yet to provide a clear explanation for the cause of the blast. The lack of information adds to the confusion and anguish experienced by the local population.

The reporting on the death toll has been marked by confusion, with conflicting figures circulating in the media. Initially, several outlets quoted the Armenian health minister stating that the death toll had reached 125. However, subsequent corrections clarified that this figure included individuals killed in Nagorno-Karabakh during last week’s military offensive by Azerbaijan and then transported to Armenia. The latest and most accurate figures come from the office of Karabakh’s ombudsman, Gegham Stepanyan, who reported 68 confirmed deaths.

In the wake of the tragedy, extensive rescue and evacuation efforts have been underway. The number of injured has increased to 290, with 168 individuals transported to medical institutions in Armenia. Helicopters from Armenia, as well as those belonging to Russian peacekeepers, played a crucial role in airlifting 96 patients, while 72 were transported by ambulances accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The explosion occurred as a backdrop to the mass exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. By Tuesday afternoon, at least 28,120 of the approximately 120,000 individuals residing in the region had crossed into Armenia, according to the Armenian government. This rapid displacement further underscores the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the aftermath of the military conflict.