For Ahmed and his family, this will be the third winter of living in an Iraqi refugee camp. He intended to move back to the city this past summer to rebuild his life, but there are no jobs available and he can’t afford to rent a house. Ahmed’s friends who risked the move back home tell him to stay in camp. His friends are running out of options and may have to come back to camp themselves.
In camp, some organizations have needed to decrease food distributions. Even basic medical services are cut. Unfortunately, for Ahmed’s family and thousands of other families like them, they have no choice but to face another cold, muddy winter in camp. Recently the camp generators were out of service for a week, leaving them in the dark.
Ahmed’s goal right now is just to make it through each day. As he thinks about the future, he hangs his head in discouragement and hopes he will someday have a life again.
Recent invasion brings more hardship
Across the border in northern Syria, a recent invasion sent hundreds of thousands fleeing from their homes again. Some of them fled to this area in Syria less than two years ago. In recent weeks, they took shelter in schools, set up makeshift camps in the desert, or crossed the border into northern Iraq.
The things they have spent their life working for are gone in a moment. They are left with whatever they could carry with them. New governments are being established on their ancestral lands and they have little hope of ever returning. Most of them will have to start life again at zero, but the unanswered question is, where?
The difficulty of winter
This winter again, refugees around the Middle East stuff scraps of clothing into stoves to ward off the chill seeping through thin tent walls. In unfinished homes, they hang blankets over doorless openings in an effort to keep out the cold breeze. They stand in line for hours to collect a bit of soup or a food parcel. Inflation has devalued their currency, and economic sanctions have made it difficult to find and afford even the necessities. For now, they are obligated to rely on someone’s help or assume a debt they may never be able to repay.
As unrest and uncertainty continue to boil throughout the Middle East, the outlook for refugees and internally displaced people looks bleak. To them, it doesn’t look like the new year will have much more to offer them.
Ways we are helping
With your assistance, we are able to spread some warmth and hope to refugees in the Middle East. Blankets, clothing, and deliveries of coal are helping to take the edge off the chill. Food parcels and hygiene supplies are easing families’ financial burdens. Our medical staff members are able to offer much-needed assistance along with words of hope and encouragement. One recipient said, “Because you are here, we feel peace.”
Our goal is to continue assisting suffering refugees in the Middle East as funds are available. We are facing 2020 with a funding deficit for this project. If you wish to help, your support will be a tremendous blessing.