Today is World Refugee Day, a day to draw attention to the state of refugees all over the world.
In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have come in search of a safe place to be sheltered from the fighting that’s enveloped the area. They’re escaping the war in Syria or the advance of ISIS in Iraq, leaving behind their homes and facing journeys that are often hard and dangerous.
In order to address the health needs of this growing population, we operate two health clinics in the Arbat camp, a mobile clinic, and a health clinic in the Qoratu camp. Marina, EMERGENCY Medical Coordinator in Iraq, updates us on the Qoratu camp:
“The refugee camp in Qoratu is gradually turning into a little town with 2,500 inhabitants. Everyone knows each other now. Each family has tried to recreate some semblance of their old home in and around their tent. The women make bread, the children play, some men set up a businesses, opening small food stores or repair shops…
Meanwhile, our work continues in the clinic that we’ve opened inside the camp and out in the surrounding areas with our mobile clinic. At the moment we’re selecting the volunteers who’ll be helping us with the Health Promotion program we aim to launch in the camp. After being trained by us, they’ll visit each tent in a health information campaign to promote healthy practices and give advice about hygiene and health. The first campaign will begin next week, dealing with problems linked with dehydration and diarrhea. A lot of people showed up for an interview. Naser, Kalid, Shabri … There’s the chemistry professor, the mechanical engineer, the factory worker, the student… Each one of them has a story, a life that has had to be abandoned. They ask for nothing, only to be able to begin again and, if possible, to lend a hand. That’s why they want to be volunteers with EMERGENCY and help others in the camp.
During the interview they tell their stories with sincerity and dignity. Many stories, each one different from the others but all bearing a terrible mark: the mark of war.”
EMERGENCY Medical Coordinator
To help deliver free-of-charge healthcare to refugees forced from their homes and livelihoods in Iraqi-Kurdistan