The daily struggle for Iraq's displaced
Last year, hundreds of thousands of people fled to northern Iraq amid mounting violence. While most now live in camps, thousands still live in makeshift shelter
May 21 2015
This group of 15 buildings under construction near Zakho, in an area known as Dalal city, is the last major site still occupied by those internally displaced by the violence. The first two floors of each tower are occupied. The occupants of the premises bear the brunt of a challenging climate: sweltering heat and bitter cold. The little protection available - offered primarily from tarpaulins, planks, iron plates or polystyrene - don’t guarantee insulation or privacy.
In addition to all of this, there are also the challenges of living in a remote location that lacks basic infrastructure. Water access is limited to what we provide; those who don’t have vehicles find themselves unable to move; there is a lack of income, money and food; and the difficulty of coming to terms with this new lifestyle.
When we don’t have much we look for solutions, and the inhabitants of Dalal have no shortage of creativity. Two tents have become a meeting point for men: on one side is a barber, who also has a television and a few chairs, and on the other a shop where you find crisps, cigarettes and sodas.
A little further on, another place stocks sweets, drinks, a TV that broadcasts football games and even games consoles. But beware, everything has a cost in Dalal and to get a seat facing the television, in a tiny room in the company of 30 other people, you need to leave some cash at the entrance.
Everyone reacts differently to this situation and Action Against Hunger mental health care teams have been busy for months, working daily and running alternate activities for children and discussion groups for adults.
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