Ashti Camp for Iraqi IDPs Now Open

“Once again I’m proud of our team! We’re up and running in the new area of the Ashti camp for Iraqi IDPs in Iraq, and our guard was the first IDP to sleep in this new area. Around 100 families arrive here from the Arbat camp every day, and at last they’ll have a clean, dignified tent spot. The Arbat camp was overcrowded and really muddy. It was never planned; it was just an area ‘occupied’ by the huge numbers of refugees that headed there from Ninewa after Mosul was conquered by the Islamic State. Since 2014, tens of thousands of people have been seeking shelter from the continuous fighting in Syria and Iraq, searching for a safe place. EMERGENCY began offering free medical care straight away and started building five Health Centers in the Kurdistan area.

When we were told about the intention to extend the Ashti camp, we set to work at once. The aim was to build a new clinic to guarantee good quality treatment for the 16,000 people who’d be living there. To ensure the necessary care right from the start, we set up our mobile clinic and arranged a specific area with two tents that will act as a clinic for the next three months, until the new Clinic is ready.  The tents are fitted out with an area where patients can be examined, an area for the doctors, and a bathroom. There’s also air-conditioning and a shaded outdoor area for those waiting. I want to thank all our staff and all the people who support us: If we’ve managed to set up this project, the credit goes to you as well!”

— Giacomo, EMERGENCY NGO Humanitarian Response Program Manager in Iraq

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The Humans Behind the Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq

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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

World Refugee Day and Our New Health Promotion Program in the Qoratu Camp

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Photo: Dario Bosio/Metrography

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.”

– Marina
EMERGENCY Medical Coordinator
Kalar, Iraq

To help deliver free-of-charge healthcare to refugees forced from their homes and livelihoods in Iraqi-Kurdistan

Forced from his Home, Dr. Adnan Continues to Treat Others

EMERGENCY-IRAQ-QORATU Adnan’s eyes glistened with tears when he told us his story.

For him, medicine is more than a practice: it’s his life. He’s been treating people for 40 years and now he’s working alongside our staff in Qoratu, Iraq, in one of the clinics that we’ve set up in Iraqi Kurdistan for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) fleeing war.

One day, while we were working in the mobile clinic, he lowered his voice and shared his story: “It was about nine months ago,” he told us. “A day just like any other. I’d finished seeing my patients in Jalawla, my home city. For many of them I’d made appointments for further examinations on the next day, but that same evening the fighting arrived right on our doorstep. My wife, my four children and I had to escape immediately, leaving behind everything: home, hospital, patients…Jalawla is now a ghost town without electricity or water. Nobody lives there any more.”

Adnan now lives as a refugee in a little town near Kalar. Every day he comes here to our Qoratu clinic to help treat the many people in need. He welcomes everyone with a kind word and a smile; the war has taken many things from him, but it hasn’t managed to take away his human dignity and his sense of solidarity. For all of us, working with him day after day is a continual learning experience. Thank you, Doctor Adnan.

To help support refugees in Iraq and local staff like Dr. Adnan who work tirelessly to deliver proper healthcare to their communities around the world 

Our Qoratu Health Clinic has Begun Treating Patients

IRAQ-EMERGENCY-NGO-QORATU-CLINICEMERGENCY-NGO-IRAQ-QORATU-IDP-CAMP-CLINIC-02 “Since they first started staying here, the heads of the families have been arranging their assigned tents to make them more comfortable. Some are even turning their spaces into areas for business ventures. They are trying to return to the normal life that they were forced to leave behind due to the war.” Marina updates us on the newly opened Qoratu IDP camp in northern Iraq near Kalar where our new clinic has also begun operations. “At the moment there are 50 families, but another 200 are already expected to arrive from the Kulajo area in the next few days. Many of the patients who come to our health clinic here in the camp recognize us: they are the same people that we looked after in with our mobile clinic in the Salah-Aga area. By coordinating our actions, we are able to offer continuity in the treatment they receive, which is a step towards them reacquiring the rights that were taken from them by war.”

To help deliver free, high standard care to refugees in Iraq and people affected by conflict all around the world