Statement by Amulsar Protectors regarding the Wildfire of July 30
On July 30th, a wildfire broke near Amulsar. At 16:10 we noticed smoke from behind the hills in front of Gndevaz village and suspected that a large-scale wildfire had started. We immediately called the firefighting agency and the hotline of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) to report about the incident. MES informed that there is, indeed, a fire which has started from near Saravan village and that they are already fighting it.
Firefighting actions took around 4 hours altogether. MES disseminated a statement saying that “as of 18:00, three firefighting brigades, one operative group of the fire-rescue detachment, 4 water carriages of Lydian Armenia CJSC, 12 firefighters-rescuers, 30 citizens and 5 environmentalists were participating in the firefighting actions. At 20:19 the fire was isolated, at 20:30 it was extinguished.”
Shortly, at 18:10 “Lydian Armenia” disseminated a controversial statement on their Facebook page and as a press release where they called [Amulsar protectors] to open the roads to the mining site immediately and to allow the MES firefighters, as well as relevant employees of the company to enter the site in order to fight the fire before it expands and causes irreparable damage to the environment and the company’s property. The next day, July 31st, Lydian continued spreading misinformation by literally writing: “Only hours after the fire broke it was possible to extinguish it with the efforts of Lydian’s employees who had bypassed the blockade together with the employees of the MES and thanks to their joint efforts with MES, by using the relevant equipment of Lydian.”
Thus, Lydian’s representatives are either unaware or are consciously spreading misinformation about the role of the locals – they state as if citizens are posing obstacles to the firefighting activities, while in reality the locals and the protectors of Amulsar had been participating in the firefighting activities, too. Moreover, Lydian Armenia’s Facebook page administrator deleted all the comments which contained videos and remarks on how representatives of different bodies are entering the area without any problems or obstacles. We would like to note that officially the fire started from the area near Saravan, an area where the road to the mining site is not protected and Lydian has a free access to it.
Right after reporting about the fire and during the entire day representatives of Lydian, MES, firefighting brigades and the regional government of Vayots Dzor had free access to the area with no obstacles. All of this was video-recorded and photographed. By the way, among the cars which drove into the mining site to bring Lydian’s employees was a car with Russian plates.
Note that earlier the protectors had once again shared on social media their statement to confirm that we, protectors of Amulsar, do not pose any obstacles to Lydian’s representatives entering the site for purposes of environmental and emergency monitoring; however, considering the context of low levels of trust towards Lydian, they can enter together with our delegates and the activities on the site need to be video-recorded.