Sinjar's Children Trapped, Under Attack — UNICEF Iraq Responds

August 8, 2014

By

Michael Sandler

"We know for sure there are 25,000 children in the mountains."

Children Under Attack in Sinjar

Violence is escalating in Iraq, with reports of displaced children from Iraqi minority groups being killed and thousands of people stranded in the mountains surrounding Sinjar city.

Sinjar, a district of Ninewa in northwest Iraq with a population of at least 150,000 children, was taken over by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) on Sunday.

Will Parks, UNICEF's chief field officer in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq described the situation in a New York Times video, "We know for sure there are 25,000 children in the mountains ... We know for sure that 40 children have already died. That's the number we can confirm, but it's probably much more than that ... They're on the sides of the mountains. They've got no vegetation, no cover. They're sleeping out in the open. They've got no food, no water, no medical supplies.

Said UNICEF Iraq representative Marzio Babille in The Washington Post, "There are children dying on the mountains, on the roads ... They are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It's a disaster..."

UPDATE: Marzio Babille appeals for the immediate opening of a humanitarian corridor in this CNN video.

UNICEF's Efforts to Aid Sinjar's Children and Families Are Ongoing

UNICEF Iraq has been providing a continuing stream of information through its Twitter feed on its efforts to help Sinjar's displaced children.

Emergency supplies are being distributed, and more are in transit.

Water, of course, is a primary need of the newly displaced.

1.2 Million Displaced Iraqis, Extreme Need

The most recent clashes have raised the number of displaced people in Iraq to well over 1 million. Due to the unstable security situation and dire living conditions, mass movements are continuing and subject to rapid changes. Both existing and newly displaced populations continue to need safe drinking water, food, shelter and health services.

UNICEF has dispatched relief items from an Erbil warehouse and is relocating emergency staff to aid victims of the most recent violence. Efforts are continuing to protect those already displaced. The voices of these children and families can be heard in these videos.

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