Camp D. is a large camp in Northern Iraq. Though it is very large, not many NGO's (non-governmental organizations) operate within it's razor wire fencing. The streets are lined with shops and dwellings. Here there is a variety of need. Some refugees have only tents or shacks made of scrap tin. They are frigid in winter, and unbearable in summer. They are hardly sufficient in size, compared to the large families that live in them. Sanitary restroom conditions seem non-existent; sometimes there is one little shack in place for as many as four tents. Electricity is available only a few hours a day. In these squalid conditions, diseases can spread quickly. Each family in this camp is given some money monthly by the UN instead of food distributions. Often it is hardly enough for bread.
As we drove around the poor sections of this camp, we were horrified at the conditions. There were shacks made of scrap tin or tarpaulin with roofs held on by bricks lying on top. Yet there seem to be more prosperous sections of the camp. It seems that if you are in desperate straits, that conditions only get worse for you, there are no chances here to better your circumstances. Please pray that a Voice would speak into the hopeless lives here, and that a candle would shine into one of the darkest places.
Camp K. is a Yezidi camp in northern Iraq. It is of medium size (around 18,000), though full to capacity. Outside this camp is an informal camp of approximately 20,000. The biggest need is outside the official camp. Here, people are settling in, trying to start over and make a living in an already taxed economy. There are huge humanitarian and physical needs, but probably trumping that is the need for psychological support and mentoring.
Camp O. is a small camp for IDP's (internally displaced persons) from Mosul. They fled as ISIS took over their neighborhoods. Families here live in small RHU's (refugee housing unit, a structure more permanent and better quality than the standard tents). They do not have much, but their hospitality is huge. Some have no income or ways to provide for their families. They are low on fuel for the generator so power comes and goes. The small, one roomed dwellings can get cold in winter with no power. Otherwise it seems like a fairly comfortable camp. The children get taken by bus to local schools.
Camp S. is composed of Yezidi refugees from numerous places in northern Iraq. Approximately 18,000 people live in the formal camp. There is a significant number that live outside the camp as well; no one knows exactly how many. There are many women and children who were ISIS captives. They have lived through horrendous experiences and are dealing with the after effects of trauma. They are receiving very little to no aid. Most have lost their husbands and immediate family; some still have children held by ISIS, and each family is missing someone. We are happy to announce that a permanent team has now moved into the town and is providing aftercare for women who were victims of ISIS slavery.
In Northern Iraq there is a small village containing several thousand Yezidi IDP's. Also in this village is a small Anabaptist team laboring among them to bring hope to a discouraged people. The majority of whom this organization is reaching out to is the children, many of which have lost family members to the brutality of war. Their main focus is relationship building, teaching practical skills, and teaching English. The refugees here struggle to find jobs and maintain an existence, but they are always hospitable and friendly. They will invite you into their empty shell of a house. The village was left unfinished for many years, until the wave of displaced people flooded it; many families moving into the houses as they were. The dwellings have no doors or windows- often just tarps, and nothing but dirt for floors. Look on our volunteer page for an opportunity to serve here.