UNICEF, the UN children's agency, is providing life-saving aid to Iraqis who have escaped from Mount Sinjar. Iraqis who are members of the Yazidi religion have been trapped on Sinjar after being displaced by conflict.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has devastated towns and cities, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee. An unconfirmed number of Yazidis are still on Mount Sinjar. Food and water is being airlifted to them by the U.S. and its allies.
Other displaced persons have fled into northern Iraq's Kurdistan region. While many other Iraqis have fled into neighboring Syria. UNICEF is helping displaced persons throughout the region. Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF Iraq Representative, says,
UNICEF remains extremely concerned about the survival and fate of thousands of children trapped in the Sinjar mountains, as well as those who have reached a safe haven. We are working around the clock to deliver aid to the increasing number of people who have been brought off the mountains, but who now suffer from acute dehydration, exposure, malnourishment and shock.”
Emergency food rations are being distributed by UNICEF. In Dohuk governorate, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, UNICEF and partners have aided over 70,000 children. High protein biscuits, water and other aid are also being provided to Yazidis who have fled into Syria to escape ISIL's onslaught in Iraq.
The refugees escape into Syria is through the grueling summer heat and rough terrain. Razan Rashidi of UNICEF heard a mother exclaim, "This boy walked from Iraq to Syria." A child said, "We walked for more than 20 hours with no food or water."
Children are suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and shock. It's critical that aid reach them right away.
In arriving in Syria, the refugees have entered another country in conflict. A civil war continues to rage in Syria. UNICEF and other aid groups are operating relief missions there as well. Roshan, an Iraqi mother of six who fled to the refugee camp in Syria says, "We just want a safe place. All countries are in war. I am tired."
UNICEF depends on voluntary donations and will need funds for the increasing emergency in Iraq and other conflict areas. UNICEF USA has set up a donation page for Iraq.