Iraqi refugees stuck in limbo



  • February 10, 2018
Kelsey Campbell

“We were trapped.” Saeed’s voice grew quiet as he recalled the months he spent inside ISIS-controlled Mosul.

“We didn’t have any chance to flee because ISIS besieged us, [leaving] no safe exit,” he said.

Mosul used to be home to more than 2 million people — many of them Christians. But in June 2014, ISIS arrived, announcing that residents had three options: convert, pay a fine, or die. Locals who didn’t immediately flee underwent terrible cruelty. Men whose beards weren’t long enough could be imprisoned or receive up to 60 lashes. Women not wearing veils could be fined or whipped. The terrorists even used children as human shields.

“We were living in very bad conditions, suffering from the lack of services and access to health care,” Saeed said. This was the most difficult part for Saeed, whose name we’ve changed to protect his identity.

Saeed suffered from a chronic stomach ulcer and wasn’t able to eat solid foods. His situation grew worse since he had no access to a doctor or medicine.

Finally, Saeed and his family escaped. “We endured a terrifying journey overnight,” he said.

But even though he had escaped ISIS, he hadn’t escaped danger.

At the refugee camp, food rations were running low. Without healthy meals, Saeed’s health continued to decline. He was weak and malnourished, struggling to do simple everyday tasks.

That’s when a package of rice changed everything.

A generous donor provided meals to be shipped to the refugee camp — meals that saved Saeed’s life.

“Once I ate the fortified rice, I felt comfortable, and the pain was gone,” he said.

Saeed now volunteers to help distribute food and other supplies to his fellow refugees in the camp. But the supplies are starting to run low again … and there’s no sign that the refugees will be heading home anytime soon.

Even though Mosul was liberated in July 2017, the city has been completely destroyed. Thousands of homes, schools, and businesses lie in ruins.

The remaining buildings are empty shells. Rubble and debris litter the streets. Even if a mortar didn’t destroy a home, thieves have ransacked houses, stealing valuables and appliances. There aren’t many homes to return to.

Refugees like Saeed may have to stay in camps for several more years. Every day a refugee lives in a camp, he needs supplies like the food packages Saeed received.

But time is running out. Without immediate help, these displaced people who have already witnessed terrible brutality will continue to suffer.

Will you help these refugees who are stuck in limbo? While they are waiting to return home, you can help them survive.

Today, you can help rescue someone in desperate need.