In a small tent in the cold northern Iraqi mountains, five children struggle to make the best of their difficult circumstance. They’ve been living here through the winter since Islamic State fighters broke into their home one late night last June and shot and killed their parents. One of the boys was also wounded by the gunshots. The children fled to safety together with their grandparents on Sinjar Mountain where they endured ten days without adequate food and water before reaching the safety of Iraqi Kurdistan.
About 45 IDPs are now living in this open-fronted, half-built hotel building in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
Highlights of the Updates in Iraq
- Over 55,000 IDPs are reported to have crossed into Syria from Sinjar District, including many who were trapped on Sinjar Mountain. Most made their way back into Iraq through the Pesh Khabour checkpoint in the Kurdistan Region.
- Over 200,000 IDPs have entered Dahuk Governorate (Kurdistan Region) and are occupying schools, churches, mosques and unfinished buildings. Schools may not reopen on 10 September as scheduled, affecting over 850,000 children (Syrian refugees, Iraqi IDPs, Kurdish host community children).
- A water plant in eastern Mosul was partially destroyed by an airstrike, leaving large parts of the city without access to water. Food shortages are reportedly already occurring in Mosul as well. Millions of Iraqis may become severely food insecure later this year if these challenges are not resolved.
- The sub-district of Amirli, in Tooz district of Salah al-Din Governorate, has been surrounded by ISIS forces and completely inaccessible by road. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people reportedly remain inside Amirli, primarily Turkmen Shiites. The humanitarian situation there is said to be deteriorating quickly.
- There is mounting evidence that women belonging to the Yazidi and Christian religious minorities in Iraq are being raped and sold into slavery by the Islamic State (ISIS). One of the first to speak out was Vian Dakheel, the only Yazidi female MP, who addressed the Iraqi parliament in early August.
- Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for the establishment of a lasting peace that all people groups will be accepted and protected.
- Pray for God’s protection to the minority ethnic and religious groups, especially the vulnerable children, women and elderly. Pray that those who are being raped and sold as slaves will be rescued soon.
- Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty. Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out His comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
- Thank God that tens of thousands of Iraqis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who are still trapped.
- Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.
Updates on Iraq Crisis
- Following heavy fighting in Sinjar (Ninewa), nearly 200,000 people have been forced from their homes and are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.
- According to most recent report, thousands of families are still trapped on Sinjar Mountain without access to food or water, despite limited airdrops on 8 August.
- Between January to July 2014, an estimation of 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were seeking shelter in Northern Iraq. In addition to the current IDP crisis, the government of Kurdistan is also hosting 230,000 refugees from Syria.
- The refugees are now suffering from significant secondary displacement due to the fierce fightings near IDP locations in Ninewa and Dahuk Provinces.
Background on the crisis
Since this January, a large part of Anbar has been under ISIS control. This has led to approximately 560,000 Iraqi people fleeing to the northern part of Iraq. Following the fall of Mousal in June, an estimate of another 650,000 persons have fled to Kurdistan Region as well.