One year ago the plains of Nineveh and the city of Mosul in Iraqi fell under the control of Daesh, the so-called islamic State. A million people fled their homes to the unknown with nothing. They thought that they would be back in days. They never expected that one year later, the crisis is as if it has just started.
Currently the displaced population is settled with host communities in Kurdistan. They have no idea what the future holds for them. There are no signs that this painful crisis will end soon or if their homes will be liberated. This is the biggest challenge for them, the unknown destiny of being blind to their own future, being paralyzed and not be able to live. This makes most of them feel helpless but what the worst is they feel hopeless.
The majority live now solely on the humanitarian assistance they receive. They lack job opportunities. Prices are high and aid is drying up. Some barely survive. While some families are waiting for a chance to seek asylum in other countries, others are surviving on the hope that the crisis ends and they can return to their homes.
Caritas Iraq was one of the first to respond. Caritas Iraq helped tens of thousands of people and served their needs in different locations in the country. Its main focus was on shelter, immediate aid like food and clean water, counselling and mobilising the host community to help.
Caritas member organisations around the world will continue to support those in need. Cordaid/Caritas Netherlands is part of a Dutch alliance, for example, has run fundraising campaigns to support Caritas Iraq and other local partners.
Caritas Iraq is urging other countries and aid organisations to maintain their support as the needs are great. And for the major powers to help to put an end to the struggle and the conflict with the armed opposition forces and restore the stability to the country.
“We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries,” said Pope Francis during his Easter Message.
Reporting by Lavigne Putrus, Communication Officer, Caritas Iraq. All photos by Chris de Bode/Cordaid