News / Middle East

    Kurdistan Provides Shelter to Thousands of Iraq Refugees

    Kurdistan Provides Refuge to Thousands of Iraq Refugeesi
    X
    Jeffrey Young
    July 20, 2014 1:56 AM
    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled attacking Islamic militants in recent weeks. The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the north has become a haven for many of these people, and others have fled Syria's civil war. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees and other aid groups have worked with the Kurdistan Regional Government to set up camps where these people can be sheltered and protected by Kurdistan’s Peshmerga military. VOA’s Jeffrey Young spent a day at a camp near the capital, Irbil.
    Kurdistan Provides Refuge to Thousands of Iraq Refugees

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled attacking Islamic militants in recent weeks. The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the north has become a haven for many of these people -- and others have fled Syria's civil war.

    The U.N. High Commission for Refugees and other aid groups have worked with the Kurdistan Regional Government to set up camps where these people can be sheltered and protected by Kurdistan’s Peshmerga military. VOA’s Jeffrey Young spent a day at one camp near the capital, Irbil.

    Thousands of refugees live in Camp Khazer in Irbil. They settled in blistering heat, with the few things they carried from home as they fled the militants of the Islamic State in the Levant -- or Syria's civil war.

    Khaled Ahmad Ali said he was wounded by a Syrian “barrel bomb” attack on Mosul. He said he and his family want to be relocated far away.

    “I will never go back to Mosul. We want the U.N. or someone to take us to a new country, in Arabia or Europe or somewhere,” said Ali.

    Forced to flee

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, calls the flow of refugees staggering.

    “We have more than 220,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq that are in Kurdistan, essentially. And, we have internally displaced [persons] that all together, represent more than two million,” said Guterres.

    Camp Khazer provides shelter to people from all religious and ethnic groups.  While many say they want to stay in Kurdistan, others want to be close to their own communities.

    Ibrahim Ismael Hassan, a Turkman from Tal Afar, Iraq, said, “Terrorists drove us out of Tal Afar with bombings. We want to go to Najaf, but there is no way to get there. We spent all of our money already.”

    Kurdistan Regional Government

    The Kurdistan Regional Government runs this clinic. Every day, three to four hundred people come to the dispensary, run by Rizgar Haji. Because of the barren conditions, minimal sanitation, and blistering heat, he said, many refugees are ill.

    “We realize that vomiting and diarrhea is related to the bad food, and maybe because of the heat. Their food -- they do not have a refrigerator to keep their food in the correct ways. So that’s why, for most of them, they get, you know, disease,” said Haji.

    Inside the tents, it is stifling hot, but still better than baking in the blazing summer sun. And there are, for some people, a few things to keep themselves occupied.

    Despite the squalid conditions, many here find ways to maintain their dignity, and find a reason to smile. Especially the children.


     


    Jeffrey Young

    Jeffrey Young is a Senior Analyst in VOA’s Global English TV.  He has spent years covering global strategic issues, corruption, the Middle East, and Africa. During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include video journalism and the “Focus” news analysis unit. He also does journalist training overseas for VOA.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora