Iraq is an ancient land, rich in culture, and the home of great learning including the originators of our current alphabet and calendar.
In recent years however, the oil-rich nation has become synonymous with armed conflict: first the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s. Then came the two gulf wars with Western nations and the ousting of leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Sadly, this has not brought greater peace to the country.
In Summer 2014 the radical militant group Islamic State took over huge areas of central Iraq in a wave of violence that has included beheadings, kidnappings and suicide bombings. They are persecuting minorities including Christians and Yazidis, taking many Yazidi women as sex slaves.
In just 18 months, around 3 million people have fled their homes and over 8 million Iraqis are in urgent need of life-saving aid.
Many have fled to northern Kurdish region, including a quarter of a million Syrian refugees. Most are now living in tents and unfinished buildings in extreme temperatures. They are unable to return home, and are waiting for news of loved ones still held captive, and severely traumatised from all the atrocities they have witnessed.
Its population of 33.4 million is made up mainly of Shia and Sunni Muslims, along with the Kurds, and other minorities such as the Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turkmen.
Our work in IRAQ
Tearfund first worked in Iraq following the First Gulf War in 1991. Throughout both Gulf wars, Tearfund was engaged in supporting local partners in in the Northern Kurdish Region.
Since the start of the current crisis in Summer 2014, Tearfund have been responding to the physical and psychological needs of those whose lives have been devastated by the rise of IS.
- Supplying emergency cash grants to meet families’ essential needs such as food and clothing
- Provision of hygiene kits, latrines and much more.
- Promoting basic hygiene training to help prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
- Providing cash vouchers for shelter materials for protection during the harsh winter months.
- Supporting mobile health clinics, reaching families in remote areas
- Sponsoring trauma recovery activities for women and children scarred by experiencing awful brutality..
Tearfund has operational bases in the Dohuk and Kirkuk Governorates. In both places Tearfund is connected with other international agencies and local government to ensure the most vulnerable are identified and supported.
Tearfund has consciously chosen to work with those individuals who are not living in the designated displacement camps, focusing on individuals who fall outside of the ‘formal’ services offered by local government and UN agencies. Often, these people are living in unfinished or abandoned buildings, or they have been taken in by small local communities.
Tearfund is committed to continue working in these areas as long as safe access for our staff is possible. While much of this work is addressing urgent, short term needs, we are also building in-depth relationships with local partners to provide longer-term assistance.