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News report on the crisis in Azkharzia. 

Duration: 03:03


Lazlo Kovacs: Welcomes back to the European Free Radio. Next ups, we have Ludia McGurk reporting from war-torn Azkharzia. 

Lydia McGurk: Thank you, Lazlo. There's no getting around the fact that Azkharzia is in miserable shape by any metric you would care to apply; unemployment, disease, famine, high mortality rates for children, the constant risk of death by violence... the country is in crisis, and has been for a long time. Long-standing ethnic tensions are at the root of the Azkharzian conflict. They were kept in check until the country gained its independence in 1991, when the newly-formed government quickly found itself within an escalating situation, attempting to deal with a fundamental rift within its own populace, leading to a tense, quickly escalating struggle between the pro-government forces and the separatists who wanted to form an independent state of their own. The resulting civil war has been long and complicated. At this point, the number of broken ceasefires and aborted attempts at negotiation is beyond anyone's reckoning, and humanitarian efforts to bring relief to the civilian population have been largely unsuccessful.  

Lazlo Kovacs: So Lydia, we've had a lot of interest from our listeners about the events currently taking place in Azkharzia. Possibly because most media outlets aren't covering it. In fact, there seems to be a real sense of indifference to the Azkharzian problem from the whole international community. Is that something you can feel on the ground there?

Lydia McGurk: Yes, Lazlo. I think there is a real sense amongst the civilians here that they are being ignored. I think it's partly due to the geographical sensitivity of Azkharzia and partly the lack of a credible group to lead the country forward. While the capital is still in the hands of the Separatists, there are several other factions here fighting too, not least the right wing rebels who control the east of the country. There are reports that someone, possibly a state, or another outside force has been supplying arms to the separatists in the capital, but if they are, it has only been enough to shore up their strength there, not for them to mount a campaign across the rest of Azkharzia. 

Lazlo Kovacs: We have had a number of calls asking what people can do to help the situation there.  Are there aid groups operating in Azkharzia? Are there things that people can donate?

Lydia McGurk: There are a few aid organizations here, and none in the capital which has been locked down. As for what's needed, all of the basics, food, medicine, access to clean water, but above all... certainty. People here are beginning to lose hope. They don't see a way out of this situation. Many are missing friends and relatives and with a large number of people disappearing in the capital recently. It is unclear what kind of future, if any, there can be for Azkharzia.  


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