Iraq now hosts one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world with the UN figures now at 1.8 million affected people. Before the crisis began in Iraq, they were already hosting 225,000 Syrian refugees in the Kurdish Autonomous region of Iraq and now there another 850,000 Iraqi people who have fled here. Since June we have been able to support the work of our humanitarian aid partner, GAiN (Global Aid Network) and their local partners to respond to this influx of those fleeing the violence.
Many families feel unsafe even to stay in the refugee camps and are taking shelter wherever they can. One of our team comments that ‘since the beginning of August, the situation has changed dramatically. There are a lot more refugees here. Schools, halls, public locations and all possible places behind and next to churches are full of tents.’ It is with these vulnerable and disadvantaged families that our team are focusing their efforts to say in a practical and loving way that they are not forgotten.
Last month we began our ‘family project’ to support 100 specific families for the coming months with regular food packages and other supplies like cooking equipment, mattresses and clothes. These families live in the outskirts of the city and can be forgotten by the other organisations. Many families are finding host families in the region to stay with, but of course this puts pressure on the resources of those families, so a visit to give them additional supplies and take time to listen to their stories can make all the difference.
They live in such remote places that you wouldn’t think there are refugees taking shelter there. In comparison to these families, you could even say that the situation in the camps is pretty good. When actually, the situation in the camps is horrible and terrifying.
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