Their steps are faltered, their faces thin and drawn. The desperation in their eyes is almost palpable. “Mai, mai (water, water),” they plead.
I’m surrounded by flattened buildings, crumbled cement, and bombed cars in Mosul’s old city. Armored Humvees drive by, on their way to the front lines. The only sounds are the thuds of mortars, machine gun fire, and booms from air strikes.
It’s in a tiny butcher shop that we’ve set up a medical clinic. IV fluids hang from the hooks, and we’ve used every available space to set up beds and supplies. Groups of fleeing civilians pass through. Many are uninjured but are suffering the effects of severe dehydration and malnutrition.
One woman crumples to the ground, fainting from lack of water. We pick her up and carry her to a cot. She revives with IV fluids, water, and some crackers. Her eyes are sad and her face thin. Over the next half hour she tells me bits and pieces of her story. For five days they were without water and food. Her elderly parents are having trouble breathing, she says, worried for them. They are still behind ISIS lines. I ask about her children, and she holds up four fingers and says, “Four babies, they all sleep now.” They were killed in an airstrike when the house collapsed on them.
The IV fluid finishes and I help the woman to her feet, she looks at me with her sad eyes, grabs my face, and kisses me. She walks away, barely able to stay on her feet.
During a quiet moment I sit outside on the broken rubble to contemplate my surroundings. The destruction is incredible. I can’t imagine what these people have gone through. Although the Iraqi army has declared victory over ISIS in Mosul, the fight is not finished. People are still trapped, if not behind ISIS lines, then trapped in the horror of what they have seen and experienced. Who will help them? Only God is big enough to heal these wounds.
Later we stopped by another clinic in the city. The beds were full and people milled around. A young mother with her toddler and five-month-old baby boy pled for milk. The baby was nothing but skin-covered bones. He cried weakly. His mother said that he stopped drinking three days ago. A medic brought a bottle with formula, but the baby didn’t have the strength to suck. I found a syringe and drop-by-drop put milk in his mouth, but he couldn’t even swallow. His mother wept and kissed him on the forehead. Several of our team members prayed for him.
There are so many needs here. Pray that we could have the wisdom and strength to do what God has placed before us.
–CAM team member in the Middle East