Iraq Update: The Only Way to Stay Alive

24 August 2016

Iraq Update: The Only Way to Stay Alive

Maher, his wife, and eight children have been living in Kirkuk, Iraq for the past two years, ever since violence forced them to flee their home. They live in an unfinished house that looks more like a construction site.

They struggle to meet their family’s daily needs. They share the house with another family, and must often ask others for help with money and food. “We paid all our money to the armed group in control of our home town in order to get out,” said Maher.

Maher tells us about the car explosions and violence that forced them to seek safety and refuge in Kirkuk. They have done what they’ve needed to do to keep their family safe, but none of their choices have been easy. “After we reached Fallujah, we tried to find a useable road to travel north, but people told us the only road north was mined,” said Maher. “We finally made the decision to take that risk because it was the only way to stay alive.”

They survived the journey and have spent the past two years trying to provide for their children. Maher works at a water-bottling factory but is paid a very low wage. With three million displaced people in Iraq, an abundance of cheap labour is available in some cities, with insufficient jobs. As the years of displacement drag on, many families like Maher’s have reached the end of their savings and need assistance to survive. Maher’s eldest son has sacrificed his schooling to help support the family.

Medair provides cash assistance to vulnerable families in Kirkuk. Giving them cash allows families to choose the best ways to spend that money to meet their most critical needs. 

For instance, when Maher and his wife received cash support from Medair, they used some of it to pay for surgery on their son’s broken leg. Prior to that, the boy had suffered without any treatment since breaking his leg in an accident.

Your gifts are helping families like Maher’s survive this terrible crisis in the Middle East. Consider making a gift today.

Medair has been bringing assistance to internally displaced people in Iraq since 2014.

Medair’s work in Iraq is made possible by the generous support of:  Swiss Solidarity and the European Commission

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.

Photo copyrights: © Medair/ Ammar Kana’any

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