humanitarian aid to IraqOver three million people are without safe, stable homes. Thousands are crowded in one place either because they have nowhere else to go or they are too frightened to move, and all they want is a chance to catch their breath. That is what life is like every single day for the people of Iraq.

In 2014, ISIS launched a siege. Ten or more Iraqi cities fell under ISIS control. Families fled to find safety in neighboring lands and people huddled together in an attempt to survive.

Such unity comes with a price. People in Iraq are suffering from a lack of food and shelter. If water is accessible, it may not be safe to drink. People all over the country are in need of medical assistance. Women and girls silently call out for protection and understanding, and there does not seem to be enough of anything to go around.

But despite these circumstances, organizations have successfully provided humanitarian aid to Iraq. Since 2003, the Internal Rescue Committee (IRC) has put forth efforts to relieve the burdens of the people. Legal aid is provided to those needing help by recovering identification documents lost to them. The IRC also gives cash donations. It is estimated that as much as $400 is granted to individual families. In addition to general education, the IRC offers parenting classes that actively discourage violence towards children. Mobile teams are put in place to protect and provide necessities to women and girls who are forced to live in refugee camps.

The IRC has been so successful in their quest to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq that they now operate in 13 different provinces. The organization receives funds from others who have a common concern for humanity and have set up their own fundraising campaigns to donate money to the cause. Rescue gifts are often received from outsiders, and volunteers devote their lives to helping the IRC deliver the bare necessities to the Iraqi people.

Another organization, the Iraq Foundation (IF), was successful in its efforts to teach 365 men and women how to read as well as teach them computer skills. The Mdaina Education Project generated the opportunity for income.

The IF also started a leadership program for women called Empowering Returnee Women. The goal of this project is to encourage women to be spokespersons for their communities and people in need. These women are offered a chance to learn skills in communication, advocacy and negotiation.

The IF is always open to donations. Funds acquired go towards civil development, establishing democracy and education on human rights.

When it comes to monetary donations to Iraq, Australia and the U.S. are leading the way. The Australian prime minister pledged $110 million towards humanitarian aid to Iraq in April 2017. This brings the total amount of aid provided by Australia to $180 million. The funding provides food, medical treatment and clean drinking water.

In July, the United States became the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Iraq. Announcing a promise to send an additional $119 million, the total amount donated rose to $1.4 billion. More food and clean water will be made accessible to refugees, as well as protection and shelter. These funds will also go to support three field hospitals that administer medical treatment to those in need.

There is still work to be done. Cities and homes need rebuilding. Communities need fostering. Men, women and children need simple, basic necessities. But as humanitarians around the world succeed in answering the call to aid, the amount of people suffering significantly dwindles.

– Tamara Luckett

Photo: Flickr