Leader of the Central Council of Yezidis in Germany, Telim Tolan formed a task force with a delegation of doctors from the association “Kurdish Doctors in Germany” and a ZDF (German public TV station) camera team, travelling through the refugee camps in South Kurdistan since 18th August 2014. On behalf of the leading commission of Yezidi organizations, Tolan collects information on the current status in Northern Iraq.
After having seen touching but somewhat reassuring images in the Turkish part of Kurdistan, the task force moved on to South Kurdistan where they observed a dramatic change in the situation. Contrary to what is reported by some bigger media representatives or relief agencies, the situation in Northern Iraq is a disaster. Refugees with just enough food to stay alive and some form of shelter are considered lucky.
Telim Tolan continued his journey together with Kovan Khanki, Yezidi lectuerer at the University of Dohuk. On 20thAugust they arrived in Derebun, a village 10kms to the east of Zakho, currently accomodating 45,000 refugees. 40,000 of those are living in a camp that has already exhausted all its capacities. The other 5,000 are living on the streets. Deeply concerned about these suffering human beings, the task force moved on to Xanik where they saw another 65,000 refugees camping on the streets, in schools, and abandoned buildings or construction sights. The journey on the next day to Shariya, a small place with about 25,000 refugees could only yield a repetition of these images. Meetings with the refugees were intense and the stories they heard in every place were gruesome. Surely, Tolan and Khanki would have seen similar images in many other places of South Kurdistan.
The situation in Zakho seems worst. This small place at the border to Turkey currently houses 128,000 refugees, if it is appropriate to speak of houses when we actually mean schools, abandoned houses construction sights and the streets. In fact, the place further towards the Turkish border from Zakho is no official camp but a gathering point for people who hope for an opening of the Turkish borders for unbureaucratic crossing.
41,000 refugees live in Dohuk under well-known terrible conditions. In addition to this, there are nine other places with 40,000 refugees each. Moreover, there is one more camp with 20,000 refugees in Newroz, Syria full of people who hope for a better day tomorrow, knowing that this better day will not come very soon.
More than 430,000 Yezidi people are fleeing from the IS-terrorists, accounting for more than half of the Iraqi-Yezidi population. These are the cases we know of. Nobody knows how many elderly, sick people and children are still wandering the country side. How many women and children are still suffering in the captivity of their barbaric IS abductors?
How many women and children still have to live through humiliation, abuse and violence, every day, hoping for a relief through death? Nobody knows the number of people who have died in the villages and the mountains or on their flight. Those who managed to escape are traumatized and live in the constant fear of the return of the IS terrorists.
Schools that have become shelter for so many refugees will open in two weeks again. Furthermore, the Iraqi winter will start in October. That is, in seven weeks this unbearable heat will change to a cold, impossible to survive without appropriate clothing and shelter.
Humanitarian aid has started but it has only covered at most 10% of the Yezidis. Especially Shingali Yezidis feel abandoned. First, they had to defend themselves alone from the IS terrorists after the promised protection from the Kurdistan Regional Government was left out. Then, they lost numerous family members on their flight. Now, they have nothing. The humanitarian disaster can be seen everywhere. They need humanitarian aid, NOW.
Mass-suicides due to this desperate situation are a potential consequence. These people have nothing else to lose. The IS have pushed them to the bottom of society with no sign of improvement. Many of them, and who could blame them, want to go to Europe, far away from IS and all these horrific events.
We ask you to do EVERYTHING in your power to help these refugees. These people are counting on us.
We urgently need donations which enable us to help these people right where they are in an uncomplicated and unbureaucratic manner.
Please excuse our drastic words, but even these words are not enough to describe this disaster.
For further information please contact:
Zentralrat der Yeziden in Deutschland
Navenda Sêwirdariya Êzîdiyan li Almanya
Eidechsenstraße 19, 26133 Oldenburg
Fon: 0049 (0) 441 4850555, Fax: 0049 (0) 441 4850557