On August 3rd, 2014, Isis invaded the Sinjar district and surrounding cities in Iraq with the intention of terminating the Yezidis population. They killed between 1,600-1,800 men, with some scholars reporting the numbers between 3,000-5,000 by October of that year. The woman were raped and thousands forced into marriage and sex slavery. Entire families, including young children were captured and taken from their parents. Hundred of thousands fled with many going into the mountains where they faced starvation and dehydration, finally escaping to Kurdistan.
Currently, there are at least 300,000 Yezidis Internally Displaced People (IDP's) living in IDP camps across Kurdistan. Some of those captured by Isis have begun to return home and are facing extreme barriers to integration into the communities, without the necessary support of family members (who are still missing) and limited resources for Trauma counselling.
Although there are primary care units which provide limited but phenomenal medical assistance for things such as the common cold, many of those living in the camps require medical procedures which they simply not afford.
NGO's and aid workers are working tirelessly around the clock to support these individuals, while facing cutbacks to funding and a shortage of resources. With more returning to captivity and the numbers still increasing, due to the continuous unsafe conditions for them to return home. The need for financial support is Urgent.
For the people who are living within the camps, they have been unable to obtain provisions of Kerosene for heating throughout the winter, struggle to obtain basic necessities such as clothing for their children and are not able to afford the cost of electricity for when public electricity is not running, which is about 12 hours per day- it costs around $50 to $60 a month, with the majority of people unable to work at all and the minimal who can living off a salary of less then $5.00 per day to support an entire family.
Newspapers have called the situation in the camps, a humanitarian crisis.
The Yezidis people are peaceful people who lived off the land. Many prior to August 3rd, 2014 had never left or travelled outside of their district in Iraq. Facing not only the challenges that were required to escape, the intense grief of mourning family members and children either captured or missing, extreme trauma and now cultural shock when having to face a new way of life, they continue to be positive and peaceful people. The people are resilient and those I interviewed humble and express gratitude for what they have.
The stories that are shared on the updates page are a normal experience for those now living in the camps and due to the need to protect the individuals involved, names will not be used and images may not always included.
The money raised is going to provide winter clothing to children in the camps, kerosene for ill elderly IDP's and cover costs for emergency medical procedure that are considered life or death. 100% of the funds raised will be distributed by committed aid workers, working in the camps. Images will be included at time directly following the distibrution of items.
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If you would like to learn more about the genocide, please check out the following articles: