The Humans Behind the Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq

EMERGENCY-ARBAT-IDP-2048

Photo credit: Dario Bosio/Metrography Agency

“I’ve been working with EMERGENCY for nearly three years now, formerly as a logistician for our program in Afghanistan. Last April I came to Iraq as a Program Manager for our program addressing the humanitarian crisis in this country.

The numbers were there and I studied them before heading out: 6 million people fleeing their homes because of the war with basic needs that have to be met – water, food, shelter and health above all else. Numbers, statistics, charts – all useful information, but they still left room in my head for curiosity and a touch of fear. The project was very clear: two health clinics – plus one under construction – in Arbat and two in Kalar. All of them in camps for refugees or displaced persons. But, as I said, these were just numbers.

When I arrived in Arbat at the IDP camp (internally displaced Iraqis), the situation became clear straight away: a camp made up of tents housing over 3,000 families (more than 18,000 people), poor conditions for hygiene and health, resignation and anger in the eyes of many. Our clinic inside the camp was inundated with people looking for someone who could take care of them and their relatives. I went around the camp, amongst the tents, the children playing in the puddles, and the adults trying to give their spaces some semblance of a home. They weren’t just numbers any more. They were real people.

This is what EMERGENCY does: it takes care of people, offering free, high quality healthcare. Our clinics in the camps look after people who’ve lost their homes as a result of the war and have travelled long distances, finding themselves at the end of their journey in a tent and having to restart their lives all over again from scratch.

The people involved in this crisis currently number 8.2 million. 90% of them are living outside the camps. Since January, we’ve examined almost 40,000 people in our clinics. More than a third of them were children. And day by day the conflict increases the number of families escaping from their homes in search of a better future.

Every day there are new arrivals needing help. And every day we do just that: we offer free, high quality care.

It’s not a slogan, and these aren’t numbers. It’s reality, and these are real people.”

– Giacomo
EMERGENCY Humanitarian Response Program Manager in Iraq

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