Traumatized and living in cold ruins: People in Need provides aid for displaced people in Northern Iraq

Published: May 9, 2016 Reading time: 3 minutes
Traumatized and living in cold ruins: People in Need provides aid for displaced people in Northern Iraq
© Foto: Hozan Muhsin Hassan

Contemporary Iraq faces a complex humanitarian crisis, which so far has affected more than 13 million inhabitants. Out of this number, 10 million people are depending on certain forms of humanitarian help. Since January 2014 more than 3.2 million inhabitants have fled their homes in the territories controlled by the so-called Islamic State. People in Need (PIN) helps the internally displaced residents who escaped from their home. They are struggling with shortage of financial and material resources. One of the beneficiaries of the PIN support is Mr. Hamid. He and another 2,600 refugees received financial assistance for their families through People in Need.

Until 2014, sixty year old Hamid Khalaf Suleiman and his family in lived Sinjar, which is located in the governorate of Nineveh. Mr. Hamid and part of his family fled just before the Islamic state militants massacred over 2,000 Yazidis. He still remembers : "Fighters of the Islamic state came and killed my son along with my seventy-year-old brother and my nephew. My daughters and I managed to escape, but now we have nothing left."

Nowadays, Mr. Hamid lives with his wife and five daughters in one of the unfinished buildings. Just like many other families, the capacities of refugee camps are not sufficient. When the temperatures hit  -20°C  in the winter season, the only way to protect this modest dwelling  from wind and snow is to install plastic insulation sheets. Because of the existential concerns and loss of close relatives, Mr. Hamid and all members of his family endured psychological trauma. The younger daughters especially struggle with the loss of their brother.

The one-time financial assistance (200 USD came from the People in Need) enabled the family to purchase the fuel for heating and covered part of the cost of food. The other part of the costs of food and most of all medical care are still not covered. One of Mr. Hamid’s daughters suffers eye condition that requires regular medical care in distant city of Erbil. The costs for transport and the medical examination can easily reach 180 USD. Mr. Hamid has to borrow the money or get some as charitable donations from his friends or relatives.

Two daughters of Mr. Hamid have moved out  from the refugee camp and started living with their uncle in Bersive. One of the few schools that allow education in Arabic, a language spoken by most of the families fleeing the areas controlled by the Islamic state.

Nearly all schools in Kurdistan only provide education in Kurdish. This prevents the children of refugees to attend the compulsory education. Another factor that often make it impossible for children to attend the school are the high cost of transportation, as the refugee families  cannot afford to pay for it.

Together with the partner organizations Dorcas and WHH (Welthungerhilfe) the People in Need Foundation distributed a donation of  200 USD among 9000 refugee families over the past two months in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The finances were provided by the German Government through Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Autor: Hozan Muhsin Hassan

Related articles