Days in these mine-infested fields begin like any other, whether they will irreversibly alter someone’s life or not.
“I’ve been working with EMERGENCY for nearly 3 years now, formerly as a logistician for the Programme in Afghanistan. Last April I came to Iraq as Programme Manager for the project covering the humanitarian crisis in this country.
The numbers were there, and I studied them before setting out: 6 million people fleeing their homes because of the war, primary needs to be met – water, food, shelter and health above all else. Numbers, statistics, charts – all useful information, but still leaving room in my head for curiosity and a touch of fear. The project was very clear: two clinics plus one under construction in Arbat, and two in Kalar. All of them in camps for refugees or displaced persons. But, as I said, these were just numbers.
When I arrived in Arbat, at the IDP camp (displaced Iraqis), everything was clear straight away. A camp made up of tents housing over 3,000 families (more than 18,000 people), scant hygiene and health conditions, resignation and anger in the eyes of many. Our clinic inside the camp was inundated with people looking for someone who could take care of them and their relatives. I went around the camp, amid the tents, with the children playing in the puddles and the adults trying to give their tents some semblance of a home. They weren’t just numbers any more. They were real people.
This is what EMERGENCY does: it takes care of people, offering free, good quality healthcare. Our clinics in the camps look after people who’ve lost their homes as a result of the war and have travelled long distances, finding themselves at the end of their journey in a tent and having to restart their lives all over again from scratch.
The people involved in this crisis currently number 8.2 million. 90% of them are living outside the camps. Since January, we’ve examined almost 40,000 people in our clinics. More than a third of them were children. And, day by day, the conflict increases the number of families escaping from their homes in search of a better future.
Every day there are new arrivals needing help. And every day we do just that: we offer free, high- quality care.
It’s not a slogan, and these aren’t numbers. It’s the reality, and these are real people.”
– Giacomo, EMERGENCY NGO Humanitarian Response Programme Manager in Iraq
Photo credit: Dario Bosio/Metrography Agency