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Joe Cropp, a communication delegate for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has been deployed to Kurdistan region.
Throughout the Kurdish zone, hundreds and thousands of people who have fled the violence in Iraq are being sheltered in over-crowded transit camps. Others are relying on the generosity of friends and relatives, with as many as five families sharing a single home – sleeping up to 10 to a room. Schools, community halls and mosques are sheltering thousands more. But for some, there is no choice but to sleep rough, finding shelter in parks and building sites.
Haider Mhommad and his family have found shelter in two tunnels under the road leading out of the town of Sinjar. The family, who have been here for almost four weeks, fled their home as the bombs started to fall on Mosul. Since arriving, they have done everything they can to make the tunnels comfortable. What little personal possessions they were able to grab when they fled hang neatly from the walls. Donated mattress sit on the swept concrete floor, while tarpaulins offer privacy for the women at the far end of the tunnel. When we arrive, Haider offers a drink of cool water, kept in a covered container. The food and ice that the Red Crescent volunteers have brought is quickly taken to the “kitchen” at the end of one of the tunnels, where a wood cooking fire is burning.
But no matter how hard they try, illness has inevitably struck, with two of the children lying sick on the mattresses. “We just want to move to a safe place,” says Haider. “Somewhere we can get medicine for the children.”
IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for CH6.4 million in cash, kind or services to help support the Iraqi Red Crescent Society meet the needs of 180,000 people displaced by the violence in Iraq.