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 came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  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 VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid