Photo: A man and three children flee violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar, Iraq, Aug. 10. (CNS photo/Rodi Said, Reuters)
“The entire northern region (of Iraq) is facing a state of anticipation and caution due to the last incidents and the incursion of the armed forces into areas surrounding the City of Mosul close to the borders of Kurdistan,” reports Nabil A. Nissan, the executive director of Caritas Iraq, in an e-mail to Bishop Murphy and others who have sent assistance to the area.
“The displacement of the families continues from the areas close to the armed groups of ISIS. These families are heading towards the far governorates of Kurdistan, Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniya. B. The displaced families used to live in the areas occupied by the armed forces (Mosul, Zummar, Qaraqosh, Bartilla, Tal Afar, Nineveh plain, etc.) See map below.
“The northern governorates suffer from the lack of many basic needs including shelter, food aids, medicines taking into consideration that the temperature in summer in Iraq is up to 45°C. (113 °F),” according to Nissan. “The reports refer to the arrival of more than (300,000) persons almost all from the minorities. The displaced are currently living in the following areas: 1. Duhok governorates and surrounding areas: 30%; 2. Erbil Governorates and surrounding areas: 65%; 3. Sulaymaniya Governorate and surrounding areas:10%.
The displaced families are currently suffering from the lack of basic needs, as well as anxiety and fear due to their circumstances, he added.
“Many parties are presenting aid to the displaced families including governments, big financial organizations and different humanitarian organizations. Caritas Iraq has three socia lcentres in Qaraqosh, Alqosh and Bartilla, which they were forced to close due to the occupation of the armed forces there. All the staff and volunteers headed towards Erbil, Duhok and the rest of the close by areas.
“In spite of these difficulties, communications and contact continue with our staff and volunteers to coordinate the efforts in presenting services to assist the displaced families.”
Nissan reports that Caritas Iraq has so far assisted 3200 displaced families from Mosul and surrounding areas. They continue to assess the situation and identify the priorities and to provide aid. They intends to target 1000 displaced families through the next two days. Caritas is working currently in Erbil and surrounding areas and will activate its services in Duhok after coordinating with the churches where Caritas Iraq uses the church building and other sites as facilities to implement its activities.
“Caritas Iraq extends its deepest appreciation and acknowledgement for the rapid support of its partners during these hard times,” he concluded.