The GAiN disaster assistance response team (DART) has been in Iraq since mid-December and recently visited one of the camps that is only 25 days old. One of the team Rick P describes just some of the many encounters our team had during their visits to the camps.
We distributed packages of clothing, baby food and tea to more than 1,500 families. The clothes are desperately needed because the temperature drops at night to zero degrees Celsius; and the tents they sleep in don’t have insulation. The winter clothes, blankets and women’s care packs that were sent from the UK in November were distributed to people who had just arrived with at this camp. Muza* told us,
“I was just outside the house together with my son when a rocket destroyed the whole house. My wife was still inside and died. My wife and I hadn’t want to flee, because we did not want to leave our house and all our belongings behind. And also people get shot by IS when they are trying to leave. So we thought that it was more secure to stay at home and wait until the liberation of Mosul has finished. We were able to continue our lives during the liberation, until the day that a rocket destroyed everything I had.”
Despite all this heart break and loss there are some signs of new life springing up in the camps. Faoz*, a barber from Mosul, prohibited from performing his profession during IS rule, has started his own barbershop in the camp. It is just a chair covered by a broken tent from the UN, but this is more than a job is a symbolic of freedom. Under IS rule the men were forced to grow their beards but with a visit to Faoz they could close a cruel era and look forward to the future.
*Names have been changed for safety reasons.