Erbil, Iraq — While Iraqi citizens were fleeing their home town of Mosul and the threats of ISIS terrorists who had captured and devastated the city, Conscience International President, Dr. James E. Jennings was on his way to Erbil, an emergency quick trip to deliver aid to refugees wherever he found them.
If they were lucky, the refugees fled with the clothes on their backs. Their need for food, water, shelter, bedding, and clothing was—and is—urgent.
Traveling where he met escaping refugees collapsing alongside the roadway, Dr. Jennings was able to offer aid to some by giving money for transportation, picking up old and handicapped people and transporting them safely out of the danger zone, providing for shelter and food for the neediest families living on the streets of Erbil, and establishing a fund with local partners to deliver on-going aid of food and mattresses for 100 families facing the most immediate need.
Among those he met were four families, comprising eighteen people, sleeping in two rooms and a hallway of a building that became temporarily available. Others slept in the street, on the benches of the Mar Yusuf Church, or in abandoned buildings or those under construction. “One older couple was among the first to flee,” he discovered. “They were lucky, having lost "only" their house, as they explained, not their car.”
Those who left later had a much harder time--abused, threatened with death, and robbed by ISIS fighters at the checkpoints. “On July 17 Munir, his wife Salma, and daughter Hiam (not their real names) escaped, but had everything but their clothes stolen. Their parents "George" and "Marina" suffered losses too. ISIS terrorists took “Marina’s” jewelry, glasses, shoes, and even her false teeth. She begged to keep her shoes, but they took them,” leaving her barefoot for the journey, Dr. Jennings learned. “They also robbed her of her diabetes medicine and insulin needle, plus her blood pressure medicine and the machine to monitor it.”
One lady suffered from severe psychological trauma from being nearly raped or killed, but she and her husband and son managed to reach safety, packed into a bus with other refugees. They are destitute. Others told of having been held captive, threatened with beheading, robbed of all their possessions, and eventually released. None of the people from Mosul or Qaraqosh felt that they would ever be safe in their homeland again. They have no place to go, however, because Turkey will not accept them, Syria is unsafe, as is most of Iraq. So they remain in Kurdistan. All need urgent humanitarian assistance.
Consider the desperation of families who have lost homes, possessions, jobs, everything but the clothes on their backs. Please help us help them. You can donate by clicking on our 'Give Now' page on this site.