ShelterBox is supporting families fleeing Mosul, but we need your help!

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FORCED INTO THE DESERT BY FIGHTING


Forced out by crossfire and the threat of chemical weapons, families fleeing Mosul desperately need shelter and safety. Help us be there to give them the safety and protection that ShelterBox aid can provide.

For the last two years, Islamic State has had a tight grip on the city of Mosul, Iraq. But on Monday, 17 October, Iraqi security forces, along with Kurdish and Tribal forces and support from the US, began a military offensive to retake the city.

While this fighting could signal a massive change in the war, thousands of families have been left in the crossfire. Military assaults are happening all over the city, especially in densely populated areas, and the threat of chemical warfare hangs heavy in the air.

In the midst of this chaos, the residents of Mosul are looking for an escape. Almost a thousand people have fled the city, but this could turn into hundreds of thousands – even a million.

Biggest crisis the country has ever seen

The decision to flee is a brutal one. Between the unimaginable horrors of Islamic State rule and the country’s borders lie miles of desert, harsh storms and bitterly cold nights. This could be the biggest humanitarian crisis the country has seen.

We have to be there, not just to provide physical shelter, but safety and protection after years of suffering.

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We cannot fail these families

One of our dedicated ShelterBox response teams is on the ground now, working hard to provide shelter. Almost 500 of our family-sized ShelterBox tents have just arrived in the country, with another 1,500 on the way, but we need more. We have to be prepared. We cannot greet these families with empty hands.

Please help us reach them – before it’s too late.

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Your donation will help us provide durable family-sized tents to people forced out of Mosul with no belongings and nowhere to go.

You’ll also help us support those who have managed to find temporary shelter in half-built and damaged buildings.

In the region of Duhok, in Northern Iraq, we’re already providing families with ShelterKits filled with all the essentials they need.

Tough, durable tarpaulins can be used to make a waterproof shelter next to any remaining wall, while mattresses and blankets give people somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep. Simple items like solar lamps and water carriers help to make daily life a little easier and much safer. Everything is easy to carry so if a family needs to move and find shelter elsewhere it can be taken with them.

ON THE GROUND, RESPONDING NOW


We have been working in Iraq since 2012, supporting people fleeing from conflict both in Iraq and across the border in Syria.

We’re working in the country right now. Helping families who need our help today, along with those who will need it tomorrow.

ShelterBox response team member Rachel Harvey reports from Seje in Northern Iraq on our work with fellow aid agency ACTED to make unfinished houses weatherproof for families on the run from Islamic State.

ShelterBox Tents Await Iraqi Families Fleeing Sinjar Mountain

IRAQI KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox has previously assisted families in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

IRAQI KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox has previously assisted families in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

As the United Nations (UN) declares a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ for Iraq, ShelterBox partners with both the UN and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to attempt to deliver vital shelter to families previously stranded on Sinjar Mountain. 

Thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, were left stranded atop Sinjar Mountain after being driven from their homes by the advance of Islamic State militants in the region. The rapid advance of militant fighters has thrown Iraq into crisis and has now led to overseas involvement in the form of aid interventions. The UN estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have now been internally displaced by the crisis. ShelterBox has a wealth of experience in humanitarian responses in the region having been responding to the Syria crisis since early 2012.

The UN has issued a statement explaining ‘Given the scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe, this measure [declaring a Level 3 Emergency] will facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements.’

The severity of this crisis is not to be overlooked, today’s UN statement goes on to clarify that a Level 3 Emergency ‘represents the highest level of humanitarian crisis’.

In a week that has seen both the UK and US completing aid drops of food and water into the region, the latest announcement from the UN comes amidst growing concerns for what lies ahead for the families stranded atop Sinjar Mountain. Concern is also mounting for those families who have, in recent nights, fled the mountain under the cover of darkness and are now in search of shelter.

ShelterBox currently has prepositioned stock in Iraq and will be working with UNHCR and ACTED to move 500 UN specification tents to Duhok, near the border with Syria, to be used to establish a camp to provide shelter for internally displaced people (IDP’s) such as those fleeing Sinjar Mountain.

Although daytime temperatures in the region are currently high the ShelterBox Operations team are currently making provisions to supplement the current stock of shelter in Iraq with winterisation kits. This is more of a precautionary measure should the need for shelter sadly extend into the colder winter months.

You can help by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

Trying To Ease Suffering In Syria And Iraq Kurdistan

IRAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. ShelterBox has been helping Syrian refugees in Iraq Kurdistan for over two years. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

IRAQ KURDISTAN. AUGUST 2013. ShelterBox has been helping Syrian refugees in Iraq Kurdistan for over two years. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

ShelterBox is striving to help families who have been forced from their homes due to conflict but remain within the borders of their own countries in Syria and Iraq.   
These internally displaced persons (IDPs) are just some of the 33.3 million that the United Nations estimates to be the IDP global population in their latest report.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in northern Iraq. Reports state that fighting between militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and pro-government forces are driving hundreds of thousands of families from their homes, particularly in Mosul, to seek safety and shelter in Iraq Kurdistan’s peaceful cities of Erbil and Duhok.
ShelterBox has a team in Iraq Kurdistan meeting with partner aid agencies to see how it can support the humanitarian response, and shelter IDPs.
‘Families will be made to uproot again’
‘The IDP situation here is fluid,’ said one of ShelterBox’s operations coordinators currently in the country.  ‘Some families have already returned to Mosul but the fighting is expected to continue, which would increase the number of people in need in the days and weeks to come.
‘Coordination with other aid agencies and government bodies is key in this response to avoid duplications in aid efforts and help those in need more effectively and efficiently.’
IRAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. Coordination with other aid agencies has been imperative in ShelterBox's responses in Syria and Iraq Kurdistan. Here is ShelterBox response team member Torstein Nielsen checking tents with local Kurdish partner Barzani Charity Foundation. (ShelterBox)

IRAQ KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. Coordination with other aid agencies has been imperative in ShelterBox’s responses in Syria and Iraq Kurdistan. Here is ShelterBox response team member Torstein Nielsen checking tents with local Kurdish partner Barzani Charity Foundation. (ShelterBox)

Meanwhile in Syria there are thought to be 6.5 million displaced people alone where ongoing conflict also causes families to be uprooted several times. Men, women and children face violence daily as they remain within an active conflict zone. Access to food, water, shelter and medical care is often limited as it’s hard for aid agencies to reach them.
Two trucks of ShelterBox aid en route to Syria
However ShelterBox has been providing vital aid to Syrian IDPs for over two years now by working with partner humanitarian organisations that already have a presence in the country.
‘We have just sent two more trucks of ShelterBox aid that will be delivered to IDPs in Syria by our long-term partner charity Hand in Hand for Syria,’ said ShelterBox operations coordinator Sam Hewett. ‘Tents are en route now along with Shelter Repair Kits, mosquito nets, water filters and carriers, blankets, groundsheets, SchoolBoxes and solar lamps.’
‘At first glance this UN report seems to describe a hopeless situation, with conflict on the rise globally, and numbers of refugees at a record high,’ said ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace. ‘But here, at ShelterBox, our outlook is hopeful because we have the means and experience to help provide families with shelter and essential equipment.
‘The numbers may be daunting, but that positive outlook reflects the attitude of our supporters, who give so generously because they are moved by the plight of these families on the run. ShelterBox is dedicated to doing all it can, wherever it can, to ease the suffering of those fleeing conflict.’
Thank you. 

ShelterBox Responds to Syria Conflict in Kurdistan

Winterised ShelterBox tents set up at Domiz refugee camp, Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan, October 2012.

Winterised ShelterBox tents set up at Domiz refugee camp, Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan, October 2012.

 

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is arriving in Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan today in response to the influx of Syrian refugees that have been pouring over the border since Thursday last week. 

Thousands of Syrian families crossed a new pontoon bridge over the Tigris river at Peshkhabour border point from Syria to Duhok province, Iraqi Kurdistan last weekend.

‘The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us,’ said a spokesperson from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, in Geneva.

The reasons for the influx remain unclear but there has been a dramatic increase in fighting between Syrian Kurds and anti-government Islamist militants, according to various media reports.

UNHCR say that many of the newly arriving Syrians had travelled from Aleppo, Afrin, Hassake and Qamishli and had been waiting at the border crossing for up to three days.

‘We responded to the initial influx of Syrian refugees into Iraqi Kurdistan last year in October where we distributed 500 winterised ShelterBoxes at Domiz refugee camp in Duhok,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator and SRT member Alice Jefferson (UK). ‘Since then, we have continued to monitor the situation in the country and this exodus of refugees has triggered us to respond once more.

‘Shelter, warmth and dignity’

‘We will be meeting with other humanitarian organisations, including UNHCR and Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF), which we worked with in our previous response here, to assess the need and discuss a possible shelter distribution plan with the aim of bringing shelter, warmth and dignity to these displaced families.’

Meanwhile in Lebanon there are winterised ShelterBoxes ready to be distributed if needed in preparation for the potential influx of refugees from Syria’s Damascus, owing to the recent media reports on chemical weapons earlier this week.

You can help us respond to the Syrian refugee crisis by DONATING HERE ….. thank you!