When living is simply surviving

We are still alive – but now what?

Many families who found shelter in empty or rented houses at the beginning, have since moved into one of the big official camps, where they are provided with food from the large aid organisations. For this reason, our partners in Erbil and surrounding area help those families in particular who are sheltering outside of the camps in the surrounding villages and building sites.

One shed for 40 people

When they fled from Qaraqosh to Erbil, they didn´t know where to go. And so they spent two nights with bags and luggage outside on the street. One morning, a man who runs a well know restaurant in town, passed by. He had mercy and there and then cleared the shed on the grounds of his restaurant to let this family of 40 move in. He also gave food to the families and set up what facilities he could. It is not all that comfortable living in this outhouse as the roof has cracks and they have already caught insects and scorpions. Nevertheless, they are very thankful to have survived.

Difficult experiences lie behind them. After the conquest of their hometown Qaraqosh, one part of the family fled. But many stayed and hid in their house for a long time, because they thought that the 90 year old grandfather wouldn´t survive the long walk. And they still hoped that the situation would improve quickly. When finally the food ran out, one son had to leave the house and was instantly caught by ISIS soldiers. At once, the men gathered around the house and taunted at them with guns: “If you do not leave, we will cut all your heads off.” Then all of them had to run, including the grandfather. ISIS followed them all for a long route with motorcycles and rifles in position, until they finally turned around. It wasn’t only the children who cried out of fear. Finally, they found a taxi that brought all of those who couldn´t walk anymore to Erbil. There they found their family in the shed of the merciful restaurant owner.

How much longer?

Since then, they and many other families wait for the liberation of their hometown. They overcame the first winter with the help of blankets, heaters and kerosene, which our partner bought from them with money donated through GAiN. Then the hot summer came. The continual waiting and living in very confined space wears down their hope for the future. Finding work is very difficult, simply because of the foreign language. Some family members are still holding out believing that they can return soon. Others would preferably leave this weakened country, to begin anew somewhere.

The question remains, how long will they have to withstand this situation?

If you would like to make a donation you can click on the Donate Now button to give towards the Iraq appeal that will go towards regular food parcels and essential household supplies.

We are currently running an appeal for blankets to help these families through the harsh winter months. Every donation helps these refugees in the region of Kurdistan to survive and not loose hope.