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Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Mingachevir Dam Targeted (Reports)

BAKU, Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office said 11 October that Armenian armed forces had carried out a missile attack on the Mingachevir Hydroelectric Power Plant in Azerbaijan, Russian state media outlet TASS reported.

"At about 04:00 local time (3:00 Moscow time), the Armenian armed forces carried out a missile attack on a major Azerbaijani industrial city of Mingechevir, which is 100 km away from the zone of the hostilities, and the Mingachevir Hydroelectric Power Plant located there," the prosecutors said, adding that all missiles were intercepted by Azerbaijan’s air defense forces.

Azerbaijani Ministry of Ecology subsequently released a statement, addressed to several United Nations agencies, 12 October on Armenian forces targeting the Mingachevir station (Azernews).

Heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region has also affected cities to the north along the border where, in particular, a lack of cooperation between local authorities has had an effect on water supply and access to farmlands.

An estimated 1.3 million people in Azerbaijan have been affected by shelling in a number of locations. Missiles fired toward the city of Mingecevir have landed close to the city’s hospital, town centre, and strategically important hydroelectric plant, which supplies electricity to the whole country. Damage to the dam could cause extensive flooding across 14 Azeri cities.

There has been shelling and rocket fire directed at densely populated cities and essential infrastructure such as schools and hospitals in Nagorno-Karabakh. Homes have been destroyed, resulting in widespread evacuations, mostly of women and children. Over 50 civilian deaths and hundreds of wounded have been reported, but victim numbers may be much higher as precise information on the extent of displacement is not available.

There is limited access to drinking water along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, north of Nagorno-Karabakh and about 15 km from the current line of fire. Cross-border water supply lines have not been maintained in over 20 years. Water is unsafe and in short supply, contributing to further concerns with respect to COVID-19.