In December of last year the Dibaga 2 IDP Camp was flooded due to extreme weather. This camp is home to people from the Mosul and Kirkuk regions mostly. In any normal situation a flood is challenging enough. The streets are covered knee deep in water and mud, your car might be a few blocks from where you parked it because the wild river that was once your frontyard has taken it for a ride, your shoes are ruined and the ground floor of your home has to be replaced. And as soon as the water retreats you call your insurance company and hope they cover the damage costs and you move on.
However the people in the Dibaga 2 IDP Camp aren’t in a normal situation. They had to seek refuge from ISIS. They left everything behind, and lost everything they had, to find safety for their families in a camp that can only offer the very basic. A tent and some food. The few belongings they did take with them were often kept on the floor of their tents as there are no shelves. The flood took it all. The flood ruined their tents, their only form of safety. It took their clothes and soaked their blankets in the middle of the winter. They lost everything again. And there was no one to turn to.
Bring Hope was one of the first organisations on the scene. After a very quick assessment of what was needed most we made a distribution plan and started our distribution. Blankets, clothes, plates and cups for over 130 families who had lost it all and had nothing to keep off the winter cold.
Fortunately we were able to provide the basics. Now, 2 months later, we went back to distribute toys for all the children. The children often don’t have proper toys to play with and the few who did have toys lost them in the flood. So, a toy distribution was needed in our eyes because every child has the right to play. But we also checked in to see if the situation had improved. Unfortunately it did not. Shelters were not restored and a lot of the IDPs* will be moved elsewhere.
The distribution of the toys went very well. Children were laughing and smiling. Parents were happy. But we couldn’t help but notice that most children weren’t dressed appropriately to the cold weather. Often wearing only a thin pullover, pants and flip flops or sandals. They were dressed as if it was summer.
Together with (international) volunteers from Ishik University we were able to make them forget everything for a second and make them feel like children again. These children are dealt a bad hand in life so far and have experienced more sadness, violence and loss than anyone should experience in a lifetime. So we were over the moon when we saw the children play with their toys and smile again.
We will continue to do our best and support these communities the best way we can.
*Internally Displaced People