A day in the life:
How the displaced live in Azerbaijan
by: Leyla Bagirli | Elmira Azizkhanli
For nearly 30 years, hundreds of thousands of displaced
Azerbaijanis (IDP) have lived in dormitories and other “temporary
housing'' in the capital, Baku, and other cities throughout the
country. They settled in the buildings, tent camps, railway cars
and other structures during the 1988-1994 Armenia-Azerbaijan war,
which displaced a reported 1.14 million ethnic Azerbaijanis from
Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Over a 20-year period, from 1993 to 2013, the Azerbaijani government has spent a reported $ 5.5 to improve the lives of Azerbaijanis displaced during the war–$2.5 billion is from the state budget, $1.9 billion from the State Oil Fund and $1.1 billion from international humanitarian organizations. Today, 49 international and 43 local humanitarian organizations provide assistance to refugees, IDPs and low-income people in Azerbaijan.
Despite those efforts, it is estimated that over 300,000 Azerbaijanis still live in buildings that were never intended to serve as housing. Multigenerational families have celebrated births, marriages and deaths in single room quarters with thin walls, no privacy and zero amenities.
The challenges the people living in these settlements face on a daily basis are nearly impossible to imagine if you do not experience yourself. Using photographs, illustrations and interviews, Chai Khana has created an interactive, 360-degree model of one settlement in Baku, the Dormitory 1 of the Azerbaijan University of Languages. Click through the guided tour and experience a day in the life of a displaced person in Baku.