Islamic Relief aid worker Najat El Hamri reports on the deteriorating conditions facing those caught up in conflict in Iraq, and how we are helping some of the most vulnerable families.

Last month, I visited Iraq to see for myself the human impact of what has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.

From Islamic Relief’s office in Erbil, capital of Iraqi-Kurdistan, I joined our emergency team in traveling to Duhok for a distribution of much-needed aid. In Badre town, we provided 300 families that had fled their homes in Shangal, also known as Sinjar, with food and hygiene items.

Living conditions are tough

Most of the displaced families in Badre are Yazidi, and left just about everything behind when conflict forced them from their town. Many have been taken in by local families, but others are living in government buildings or in makeshift shelters. Living conditions are tough, with scant access to things that so many of us take for granted – toilets, a warm place to sleep, food to eat.

I was privileged to meet and talk with some of these families. They spoke to me about the fear they felt, the hardships they faced, and their anxiety over the future. They told me of their concerns over the health of their children, and how they would all cope in the harsh winter conditions.

Overwhelmingly, they spoke to me about their biggest hope: to return to their homes and live in peace and safety.

As the only organisation to have helped displaced families in Badre so far, the mayor of the town has welcomed the intervention of Islamic Relief. Thanks to your support for our Iraq emergency appeal, we have been able to provide families with canned meat, lentils, bread and rice, as well as other basic foodstuffs such as cooking oil and tea.

Displaced children in Duhok with Islamic Relief aid items.

Displaced children in Duhok with Islamic Relief aid items.

The families also received hygiene items which help maintain their dignity and prevent illness – simple things such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitary towels and diapers for babies.

The needs in Duhok and across the country are huge. Some two million people are now displaced in Iraq. There is as yet no end to the crisis in sight.

Islamic Relief is working on the ground to reach the most vulnerable people – including Christians, Muslims, Yazidis and those fleeing brutal conflict in neighbouring Syria – in camps scattered across the region and in host communities. We are targeting our aid to reach vulnerable people in areas where aid is scarce, but many more people need our help.

With your support, we can reach many more people whose lives have been shattered by violence. Donate to our Iraq emergency appeal today. Thank you.