10th October 2014
Our Samaritan’s Purse team in northern Iraq has been distributing kerosene heaters and blankets to families of Christian refugees who had fled to mountainous areas in the Autonomous Republic of Kurdistan. The team writes:
We discovered a whole village of Chaldean Christians who had found shelter in one of the public buildings. There were nursing women, elderly turbaned men and cavorting children.
Families sat on thin mattresses strewn across the marble floors, with tragically small and assorted piles of belongings: the odd pot or pan, an embroidered pillow here or there, and the occasional teddy bear. The men seemed to have it worst: several of them toko repetitive journeys up and down the echoing halls with vacant expressions.
These people left suddenly at midnight: the first thing they knew was that soldiers from the Kurdish army were in the village, shouting wildly for everyone to leave because ISIS was coming. There was a mad dash in the dark to pick up whatever belongings came to hand, and the whole village scattered on foot.
They just escaped with their lives; pictures taken of their village recently show houses and stores smashed to rubble.
Over the following days the families gradually located each other, and congregated at their new shelter. It is far from ideal: one bathroom per twenty families, and no curtains or partitions. Out of respect for the women, the men are currently sleeping in the yard. The outdoors solution is not one which will last for long.
“We don’t know what the future holds, because winter is coming,” a Chaldean man said.
Like so many others, he was wearing the clothes he came in: thin trousers, a light shirt and sandals. He has no winter gear.
During the distribution of heaters, a man introduced himself as an evangelical Christian. One of the Samaritan’s Purse team members asked him his favourite book of the Bible.
“Revelation,” he said, “because it’s happening now.”
Samaritan’s Purse is committed to helping families prepare for the coming winter by providing winter coats, blankets, warm socks, sleeping bags, shelter materials and kerosene heaters. The powerful heaters and thick blankets from Samaritans Purse will go a way in keeping these particular families warm, but the need is enormous.
Up in the mountains the evenings are already chilly. As winter comes, that chill will turn to thick snow, and these people are going to need all the help they can get.
Please join Samaritan’s Purse in praying for families displaced by the conflict in northern Iraq.