FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – For nearly two weeks, a medical mission from Fresno has been in the country of Armenia, but their role has shifted as a humanitarian crisis erupted.
While physical therapists treat a steady stream of patients at a Health Care Center, the mission’s humanitarian work is serving another enormous need by providing $20,000 worth of medicine for the thousands of refugees who have flooded into Armenia from Nagorno Karabakh.
In Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, the Hotel Austrian Castle has provided housing to 55 people and the mayor of Gyumri has promised to cover the cost.
The need is great for medicines but especially housing for people like 65-year-old Sergey Beklaryan who left what he called a good life wearing only his pajamas.
There’s a suffocating sense of sadness here. The tragic stories are hard to digest. Like that of 23-year-old Galia Arustanyan a young mother who is now a widow.
Now in Gyumri, Galia is faced with burying her husband while trying to forge a life with her daughter.
“For the sake of my daughter, I have to stay strong. I have to be a father and mother to my daughter,” says Arustanyan.
80-year-old Robert Mekertchyan once an electrical engineer, now wondering if anyone beyond this small hotel cares enough to help.
“Where is the international law? Where is the justice? Where is it?,” says Mekertchyan.