Helping tens of thousands of displaced  | Action Against Hunger

Kurdistan region of Iraq: Stories from the field

Our teams are working to restore dignity to the lives of the tens of thousands of people now sheltering in unfinished buildings, camps and schools in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

By Florian Seriex

Sep 15 2014

In Zakho, in northern Iraq, the displaced have arrived in their tens of thousands.

On foot, by car, bus, having left everything behind, their journey has taken them to Dabin City, where more than 6,000 people now stay in a group of buildings still under construction.

Teenagers Rahat and Mahdi are sitting at their makeshift stall: a plank placed on some bricks. Above it, their wares: 20 packs of cigarettes and some chewing gum. Business is not very good at Zakho though, particularly when many people's resources are even more limited than those of the two young vendors.

Of course, Rahat, 13, and Mahdi, 14, should not be there. They should be in school. As should hundreds of thousands now displaced in northern Iraq. 

They have aspirations beyond selling cigarettes in the dust and rubble but don't really have a choice. The two friends have become the main sources of income for their families.

Rahat wants to be a teacher, and Mahdi, a doctor. While they would rather be in a classroom, the two teenagers do not complain. 

“It was so sad in the mountains, there were so many dead." 

"It's not so bad here,” said Mahdi. “It was so sad in the mountains, there were so many dead." 

Action Against Hunger, with support from UK Aid, is providing the boys, their families and thousands of others with urgently needed clean  water, as well as food and psychological support. But the needs are vast.

 

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Photo credits: © Florian Seriex