Relief Life has recently decided to partner with Medair whose emergency response teams have been assessing the huge humanitarian needs in northern Iraq and what they are encountering is profoundly concerning. Intense fighting in northern Iraq has sent thousands of families on the run with their children, fleeing for their lives, persecuted for religious and ethnic reasons.
The United Nations estimates that there are now 1.8 million displaced people in northern and central Iraq. In Zakho, some 200 km north of Erbil, around 100,000 people have arrived after fleeing violent militants. Medair was one of the first to reach these displaced families in Zahko and are preparing to bring them emergency food rations and essential survival supplies. They’ve already received some of the emergency goods in Iraq, ready for distribution to the displaced people.
They found hundreds of families living in dangerous and overcrowded conditions. In one unfinished three-story school building with no walls, 600 people are sleeping on cement floors, sharing just four toilets and one shower. One man told them that his family of 10 shares one blanket at night.
“This is no place for us,” said a young man named Saad. “We are living like animals. All the children are
sick. It’s very dangerous for the children here. They can fall because there are no walls. Winter is coming. If we stay here we are dead. You are the first people to visit us.”
In response to the present needs, Medair teams are preparing to quickly distribute 8,400 emergency food rations and more than 2,000 emergency family kits, including cans, mattresses, blankets, jerry buckets, laundry soap and hand soap, to affected families.
Relief Life decided to partner with Medair due to their excellent track record and experience from which they can learn in their partnership. This has been an on going relationships that started in December 2013 when Relief Life responded to the disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Medair is a humanitarian organisation inspired by Christian faith to relieve human suffering in some of the world’s most remote and devastated places. They bring relief and recovery to people in crisis, regardless of race, creed or nationality.
Thanks to local support Relief Life was able raise more than R200,000 since they started their appeal. This has been used to support Medair as they continually deliver aid and will be enough to supply the necessary hygiene items and emergency food to 67 families (average 5 members per family) for a month.
by: Gerardus Adema and Medair