A Look Inside: Victims of War

Below is an update from Mike Parks, Disaster Relief Director at GHNI, who recently visited refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East.

It was a busy day visiting refugee and IDPs. One camp was a mix of Syrians, Yazidis and Christians - three locations where Yazidi families have settled, and one camp of Christians (set up on the land of Orthodox churches)

Today I’ll tell you about the Yazidi families. Yazidis are a distinct people group with a religion unique to their people. The Yazidi families are among many who have decided to live outside the established camps where they feel like prisoners and feel unsafe. The Yazidis are severely persecuted. These families were driven from their homes near Mosul last summer.

“One man told me, ‘Our town was attacked and we ran. They were taking children and women and cutting their heads off. We ran. I had a big car and we all got in it and got away. We were shot at as we escaped. And now we are here…with nothing.’ He continued to describe their loss and horror.

“As he told his story other men, women, and children gathered around. Their faces were already sad and as he told their story they were no longer looking at us but stared at the ground or far off into the distance. ‘We have nowhere to go, we are being told to move, we cannot find work, we need so many things…’ The pain, hopelessness, and horrors they experience stay with them.

“My friend told me, ‘The Yazidi are kind and even though they have nothing, they don’t steal like some. Many people are being killed and having their heads chopped off. These people claim they worship the true God and call the Yazidi, “devil worshipers”.’”

It’s winter. They are wet and cold. They all have significant needs with little or no assistance available. Their health condition is deteriorating.The significant immediate needs are food, blankets, kerosene, women’s hygiene, medical care and medicine. There is no end in sight. Even today an attack was launched on Kirkuk.

We need your help. We can provide basic food items for a family (of up to 10 or 11) for one week for $60.

Mike Parks, Disaster Relief Director, GHNI