August 19, 2014:
Our team got a little bigger. I have a brilliant driver, Razgar who have been with me since day one in the north. He speaks Kurdish and Arabic, so he’s brilliant to have around. Another add to the team is Mustafa who came in a vacation to meet his family was a super helper as well. It was a blessed couple of days with them around me, it will be hard again when they are not there. No worries though for God is by my side. Following my joined statement with Mustafa for when he was there to help:
“FRRME continued to provide relief for the displaced Christians, Shabak, Yazidi, and Muslims in northern Iraq. We helped in the needs of many refugee camps. The needs of the camps ranged from water, ice, water coolers, mattresses, blankets and pillows. Our journey started at 7 am when we delivered 3,000 pieces of bread to “Mazar Mart Shamoni” which hosts 2,650 displaced people; 650 of which are children. The bread was served during the breakfast meal and again during Dinner.
Then, we left for Al-Hikma school where 650 displaced people have been living in classrooms for the past week. We delivered 150 kg of chicken, 60 dozens of eggs, and 50 kg of potatoes and onions that was cooked and served during lunch. As we were leaving the school, we took a couple of pictures to document the misery of the people so our donors and supporters could see what the people have been going through. Suddenly, a lady cried, “Stop taking pictures. We used to live with dignity in our houses that look like palaces. But we were forced to leave because we feared the brutality of ISIS”. We assured her that the pictures are going to be used for fund raising purposes. We really felt bad and then said sorry to her, and she excused us when we showed her the pictures she knew we didn’t mean to demine her or the situation.
We were then contacted by Father Amanueel who is managing Mazar Mart Shamoni. He asked us to get Air Coolers that are needed to cool the tents, in which the displaced families were living; the air-coolers were for about 80 families. So we moved to the old part of Erbil where home appliances are sold to get the coolers. After finding a reliable type of coolers and paying for it, we bought a 100 mattresses, 100 pillows, and 100 blankets to be provided for a new shelter that has been opened recently for Christian refugees from Mosul. In which about 70 families were living.
Around noon we received a call from the carpenter who had been making cradles for about 40 families letting us know that they were ready. The cradles were provided for the kids from the Shabak minority in a distant camp. We took the cradles and we headed to the camp which was 30 minutes away. As we moved, it became very windy and rained heavily for around 5 minutes. It was not a big deal for us. However, when we got to the camp, we were shocked by the impact the short storm caused to the camp. The camp is located in an open dusty area and consists of tents that are poorly supported. So when the short storm occurred, the tents were blown away and some of them fall over the elderly and the children and caused the death of a woman leaving all her kids behind. The refugees rushed to rescue whoever was impacted and took them to a safer place. Some of the refugees have arrived recently to the camp so they were placed in shelters that were open from above, so when the storm occurred, their stuff got wet and their food got spoiled.
There are so many medical problems and apparently because they are living in the desert where there is no electricity, the canned food they are getting is spoiled. So many people came to us complaining of diarrhea, and vomiting. They said, “Even the food they get us is spoiled Doctor.”, “This is not a life.” The situation is devastated and can’t even put in wards what we saw. People are dying, people are suffering, and we didn’t see any major help provided by the UN as we heard. The tents were UN provided, but after the rain… Can’t even thank them for it.
It was a really hard day, hearing that Amo died, this young lady died, and seeing so much suffering. However, we were happy that we had some relief for them. We distributed the cradles and provided bags of food for more than 300 families. What made our day were the smiles that were drawn on the faces of the disabled people when we gave them the wheelchairs. One of the old disabled people that never left his tent before we saw as we were leaving the camp sitting on his new wheelchair in the main area of the camp with some friends enjoying a conversation.
We ended our day by delivering more bread for about 2000 families for dinner. Also, making more plans for the day after.”
There are so many things needed, and people are getting tired of no one doing anything. I have heard that there is so many aid coming in to the North, but I haven’t seen any. I have seen camps, and their misery. I have seen people, dying. I have seen women who are due, and can’t even go check. I have seen everything bad, but not much good to equal it. I am hoping that more aid will come in the coming weeks. I’ll keep helping as much as I can meanwhile. I’ll keep providing for all the Christians, and all the other religious minorities: Shabak, yazidis, Ifailies, and Shia Muslims. As the representation and the Director of Operations for the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, I WON’T STOP UNTIL THE LAST DISPLACED FAMILY IN ANY OF THE CAMPS IN THE NORTH OF IRAQ IS EITHER BACK TO THEIR HOME, OR IN A BETTER PLACE. That IS MY PROMISE.
Peace and Love,
Dr. S Ahmed
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