Among IDP in Ankawa

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

If you walk the streets of the small town of Ankawa, es­pe­cially the ar­eas around the main church, you will be able to dis­cern the tragic and sad ex­pres­sions on the faces of so many peo­ple in this limited space. Chris­tians dom­i­nate the pic­ture, but there are Shabaks, Yazidis and Kakays among them as well. When you con­verse with any one, you soon re­al­ize what ISIS has in­flicted on th­ese poor souls. It is beyond any de­scrip­tion. But the fact that th­ese IDP have got a safe haven in Hawler gives them some con­so­la­tion to mit­i­gate, to cer­tain ex­tent, their un­bear­able suf­fer­ing.

Of course when a per­son is up­rooted from his/her place of ori­gin it is then the prob­lems and dif­fi­cul­ties mount. Now, In Ankawa, there are around 20,000 IDP. Some live in the church, some in schools, rented houses, some in un­fin­ished build­ings and some in tents in the small gar­dens ad­ja­cent to the church. Un­de­ni­ably, the sit­u­a­tion is not what one hopes for, but it is un­doubt­edly much bet­ter than any other al­ter­na­tive like liv­ing un­der the ab­surd de­crees of the Is­lamic ISIS.

In front of the church there is a tem­po­rary hos­pi­tal. There are doc­tors, nurses and nuns who help the pa­tients. In our con­ver­sa­tion with Sis­ter Diana, she told us about the dif­fi­cul­ties they face. On daily bases, hun­dreds of peo­ple visit the clinic. New­born ba­bies, old peo­ple, preg­nant women and oth­ers. There is medicine to hand out. Donors help. But, of course, in such cir­cum­stances, the clinic needs more as­sis­tance and ma­te­rial. Ac­cord­ing to the staff, the KRG has done a lot to pro­vide the hos­pi­tal with ba­sic needs. How­ever, the sheer num­ber of peo­ple makes the sit­u­a­tion quite dif­fi­cult to man­age.

Dur­ing our in­ter­view with peo­ple, we dis­cov­ered more about the atroc­i­ties per­pe­trated by the ISIS against them. Some com­plained about the ter­ror­ists tak­ing their money, gold, iden­tity cards and pass­ports. So, now they face dif­fi­cul­ties when they try to em­i­grate to other coun­tries. Some had left their homes twice. First from Mo­sul to Qaraqush, then from there to Hawler. And in the process, they have lost all their prop­er­ties and their per­sonal dig­ni­ties. Ac­cord­ing to one of them by the name S.A. there are no longer any Christian soul left in Mo­sul. After 1500 years, the city is emp­tied from them.

The KRG has shoul­dered a gi­gan­tic task to wel­come all th­ese IDP. At the time other coun­tries shun to bur­den their re­spon­si­bil­ity, like Iraq it­self, Kur­dis­tan has opened its arms for th­ese eth­nic groups. It has done what­ever pos­si­ble to as­sist th­ese peo­ple. It is es­ti­mated that there are nearly two mil­lion IDP in Kur­dis­tan at the mo­ment, and the num­ber is con­stantly in­creas­ing. The dis­placed are pro­vided with tents to sleep un­der, food, wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and med­i­cal care. While there is no bound­ary for the cruel and bar­baric deeds of the ISIS, the Kur­dish Gov­ern­ment knows no bound­ary for its gen­eros­ity. Above all, the se­cu­rity that the KRG is pro­vid­ing th­ese peo­ple is of paramount im­por­tance to ev­ery­thing else.

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