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Updated on 12 March 2018
Conflict in Iraq due to the violence of the extremist militant group known as ISIS (Da’esh) has forced more than 1.8 million people to be uprooted from their homes, according to the United Nations. The World Federation sent a team member to Iraq to assess the situation and after weeks of gauging and evaluating, he came across many cases of distraught and agony. In continuation of last week’s article, here are 2 more stories of families he met with on the main road between Najaf and Karbala where at least 200,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have taken refuge:
Mohamed Haider is a father of three young daughters, Isra (age 20), Fadak (age 15) and Umama (age 12). Mohamed was out when his home came under attack by mortars, rocket propelled grenades and other heavy weapons artillery. Realizing that his village was under fire and concerned about the security of his family, he rushed home. He told us: “Everybody was frightened and panicky, women were desperately screaming and children were despairingly crying.”
As he got closer to home, he became increasingly more anxious for the well-being of his daughters. Mohamed reached his home, only to find his worst fear was confirmed - that his home was the target of a brutal rocket attack by Da’esh whilst his three young daughters were inside.
Mohamed managed to get all three of his children out to safety but the attack left severe physical and emotional wounds that will remain a lifetime reminder of the persecution faced by all three of his daughters:
- Isra - suffered serious injuries from shrapnel to her abdomen
- Fadak – endured severe leg injuries that led to her leg being amputated
- Umama – suffered multiple fractures in her legs and torso
Fearing for his life, Mohamed Haider said “We knew Da’esh was attacking us, we knew the only way we could survive was to flee to the south of the country. We knew we were running from death.”
Aya is a 7 year old orphan from Sinjar, Iraq with no one to look after her. Aya’s story is one of the most heart-rending stories we came across. Aya and her family were travelling from their hometown of Sinjar towards the south of Iraq in an 11-car convoy to escape the onslaught by the extremist militant group ISIS (Da’esh).
On the way, two of the eleven cars were captured by Da’esh. In these two cars were ten members of Aya’s family, all of whom were viciously murdered by their captors – leaving Aya as the only survivor. Fortunate for Aya, she was travelling in a different car from her family.
Aya has now taken refuge on the main road between Najaf and Kerbala. With no family member to take care of her, to protect her, to comfort her as she grieves the loss of her household, Aya is alone.
Upon narrating this story to us, our associate stated: “Children are the future, but they are the ones who suffer the most during such calamities.” They further went on to say “I have seen so much pain and suffering in the eyes of the IDPs be it men, women and children alike; this is indeed a haunting experience. Nevertheless, we are ever more determined now to help.”
PLEASE DONATE: IRAQ RELIEF FUND - SHORT TERM HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
This Muharram, ‘Welcome a Family’ who is displaced and has found refuge in Najaf, Karbala and areas South of Iraq, by gifting them with a ‘Home Comfort Kit’. Our goal is to raise $1 million USD to provide kits to 1,000 families. Your donation, be it great or small, will mean so much to those in need. Each kit costs $1,000 and includes:
- Winter Aid Packs (blankets, pillows, heaters, clean water)
- Hygiene Kits (towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, dishwashing and laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products, soap and baby diapers
- Emergency shelters and transitional housing
- Food ration
- Water and sanitation services and systems
- Emergency educational facilities
- Emergency healthcare facilities
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