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For Displaced In Baku, A Factory Is Home
March 22, 2010 14:22 GMT
For some 20 Azerbaijani families, this abandoned factory in Baku has provided a home for most of the past two decades. - Photos by RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Abbas Atilay
The families were displaced from the districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh when war erupted there in the early 1990s. - Armenia and Azerbaijan fought for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan dominated by ethnic Armenians, from 1991 to 1994. Armenian-backed forces remain in control of the territory and the surrounding districts, and the conflict remains unresolved.
This factory in Baku, inactive since the Soviet era, provided shelter for ethnic Azeris fleeing the conflict.
In keeping with a government decree, internally displaced people (IDPs) cannot be evicted from their accommodation.
For the children growing up here, this is the only home they have ever known.
Unemployment is a major problem for IDPs, many of whom work part-time in poorly paid constructions jobs.
The old factory is still equipped with electricity and running water, and most of the children are enrolled in school.
The wreckage at the site has become a children's playground.
A cement oven provides warmth in winter...
...and freshly baked bread.
The families living here have applied to a refugee agency for assistance, but are still waiting for a response.
Some homes for IDPs are being built with government funding, but demand is too high to house all the displaced. - Between 800,000 to 1 million Azerbaijanis remain displaced by the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
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