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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    Women Voters Look Past Gender in Assessing Clinton

    She's the first female presidential nominee, but party identification, other factors outweigh gender

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora