Hundreds of families are fleeing from Ramadi, which has been under attack by ISIS forces for the past few days. To escape the reach of war, many are heading north where there is a growing population of internally displaced persons (IDPs). When the staff at our health clinic in the Qoratu IDP camp in Iraqi-Kurdistan received news last Thursday that the first families would be arriving the next day, they rushed to get everything ready. Friday is the day of rest for Muslims, so our clinic usually works with a reduced number of personnel, but in this special circumstance we brought in more staff to help.
The first IDPs arrived in trucks that were loaded with all their belongings. There were around 40 families – more than 200 people. “Lots more are held up at the checkpoints,” they told us, “waiting to get through and continue their journey towards a safer place.” Government sources say the number of people held up is in the thousands.
Most of the arriving IDPs are women and children. As soon as they get here, they search for an area in the shade where they can sit down and rest in order to escape the scorching sun that often raises temperatures to 40° C. They’re completely worn out and have a vacant look in their eyes as if they expected nothing more to happen for them.
We give them all a rehydrating solution and invite them to be examined by our staff at the health clinic. One of our doctors will be on hand for them whenever they need help.
While we’re telling them all this, a faint smile appears on a woman’s face and she thanks us on behalf of everyone.
To help provide immediate healthcare free of charge to refugees in Iraq escaping the war