AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and partner organizations continue to meet needs of families displaced by conflict in Iraq with a mid-July distribution of locally purchased food and personal hygiene items.
Supplies in Garmawa Camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq were running low when MCC and partner Zakho Small Villages Project arrived with food packages in two large trucks.
The packages of rice, lentils, oil and other cooking staples, plus basic personal hygiene items such as soap, were given to more than 230 families living in the camp. They had been driven from the city of Mosul by the militant group that now calls itself Islamic State.
James Fine of MCC Iraq says, “People were particularly pleased that the packages included tea and sugar, essential in Iraqis’ estimation to a decent life, even if for now it has to be in a camp.”
Almost all the recipient families are members of the Turkoman and Shabak minority groups, says Fine, who has served with MCC in Iraq for four years.
In June, MCC and another partner in Iraq, Al Amal, distributed food and other vital items to internally displaced persons (IDPs) living with family members and friends in a nearby province. Most IDPs in northern Iraq are with host families, but camps like Garmawa, which was established by the United Nations, are beginning to be set up.
Fine, who was present at the July 17 distribution, says the people in Garmawa Camp fled their homes with “either the clothes on their back or at best with what they could fit in the trunks of their cars.”
“Despite their misfortune, many were both cheerful and philosophic about their situation,” Fine says. “But more than anything else, they expressed a deep uncertainty about what the future might hold for them and for Iraq.”
People can help Iraqis through MCC by meeting these critical needs: