Let’s call them Ali and Xadij for protection
Many people have heard small news stories on their local television stations about the atrocities of war and the refugee crisis unfolding in several parts of the Middle East and Asia. Some of you may have heard what happens to young women that may be captured by militants from ISIS and how ISIS has a special dislike for the religious group called Yazidi’s. This Iraqi ethnic and religious minority descends from some of the region’s most ancient roots and they face executions for their beliefs.
In 2014 most Yazidi’s were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar in the Iraqi northwest or face slaughter by ISIS. This mile-high ridge is said to be the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. During this time images of the brutally slain people were shown in news reports and their local officials reported at least 500 Yazidi’s, including 40 children, were killed and many more threatened with death. An estimated 130,000 residents of the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar fled to Duhok or Erbil.
Our story about Ali and Xadij is also a desperate and horrible one. Living in the refugee camp of Kabarto 1, located in the city of Duhok in Northern of Iraq, they are Yazidi Kurds from the town of Sinjar. When the town of Sinjar was attacked in August 2014, many Yazidis fell into ISIS hands, including Ali, Xadij, and their four children: three young men and one 24-year-old-girl. Ali told us that immediately after they were captured, they were sorted into four groups; old people, young women, young boys, and families with small children.
Ali’s and Xadij’s children were taken away from them, and no one has heard from them since. One morning in May 2015, Ali and Xadij were asked to leave a ruined house in their village, where they were surrounded by ISIS for more than one month. “We were about 50 elder persons, who were released that morning”. Since then Ali and Xadij have been living in a tent in the camp of Kabarto 1. Every day, they pray, wait and hope their four children come back to them alive. The Yazidi’s have been denounced as infidels by Al-Qaida in Iraq (the predecessor to ISIS) and they have sanctioned their indiscriminate killing.
Ali and Xadij are just one example of hundreds of families, which have either been fortunate enough to be released or have escaped from ISIS since their town was attacked during the start of the conflict. These families have nothing left, nothing but a quickly vanishing hope for a brighter future. Ali and Xadij are in a very bad situation, since their camp, like the other 44 camps in Kurdistan, suffer from lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation, lack of proper clothing, electricity, schools, kindergartens, and yes, even food.
Consequently, a great number of children are suffering from malnutrition and disease. Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation (BHHF) has struggled to help these vulnerable groups of refugees by providing them with humanitarian aid. During the last 12 months BHHF has provided essential clothing, shoes, blankets, medical drugs, tents, food, and sleeping bags to approximately 300,000 refugees. Still, the number of refugees are approximately 2 million, and significantly more help is needed. Additionally, northern Iraq has cold winters and while it may seem far off to us, avoiding human loss of life due to freezing is a very real and very close at hand issue to address.
BHHF struggles to reach the many generous donators, both individual and corporate who can aid BHHF with their financial support to cover transport costs, which can reach up to USD 10,000/load, including logistics, staff costs, and distributions. Don’t let Ali and Xadij’s story go unnoticed, give hope to them and the millions continuing to suffer with them.