Sinjar's Children Are a Long Way From Home
"We are working around the clock to deliver aid to people who have been brought off the mountains."
Iraqi Children Freed from Sinjar Mountain
Two weeks ago, thousands of families and children from Iraq's Yazidi minority fled to Sinjar Mountain fearing for their lives and were trapped without food, water or shelter.
Today, many of these families have escaped to safer havens. Thousands spent days walking, passing through Syria before traveling back into Iraq's Dohuk Governorate. Some remained at displacement camps in Syria. There is little prospect these refugees can return to their homes in the near future.
UNICEF workers with a 13-month-old Yazidi infant held by an elderly woman in the town of Peshkhabour in Dohuk Governorate. The woman had just re-entered Iraq after a grueling journey on foot from Mount Sinjar, into Syria, and back to Iraq. © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1116/Khuzaie
Children and Women with Immediate Needs
Survivors of the offensive by armed groups in Sinjar district have been traumatized. Many suffered from dehydration, exposure, malnourishment and shock. Some gave horrifying accounts of killing, abduction and sexual violence perpetrated against women and children.
The violations against children...among the worst seen in this century.
Said UNICEF Iraq representative Marzio Babille, "The type and scope of violations against children, women and minority communities in Iraq in the past weeks is one of the worst seen in this century, and is completely unacceptable by any standards or codes of conduct that govern conflict.”
UNICEF Iraq has been working around the clock to deliver aid to people brought off the mountains as well as families sheltering in the Kurdish capital, Erbil. Since August 2, UNICEF and its partners have distributed humanitarian aid to over 70,000 children, women and families in 20 locations in Dohuk Governorate alone: bottled water, emergency food rations, hygiene kits, jerry cans and blankets. UNICEF has also provided psychological support and care to more than 3,000 distressed refugee children.