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News : Iraq

Freezing temperatures, refugee camps and the Winter Crisis

Freezing temperatures, refugee camps and the Winter Crisis – 3 Feb 2015

‘But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.’ Job 36:15 (NIV)

As bitter cold sets in across refugee camps in the Middle East temperatures are unimaginably low. Refugee tents can protect from the conflict but they cannot keep out freezing temperatures. People are faced with harrowing situations in both Iraq and Syria.

As a relatively small organisation we are able to respond rapidly to emergencies, and because we work with churches on the ground we can deliver the love and care needed quickly and effectively.We always seek to reach the most vulnerable people,so that every cent you donate makes the biggest possible difference.

The incredible suffering in Iraq can make you feel helpless. Horrific violence has killed nearly 10,000 people and caused almost 2 million to run for their lives. For someone who has lost what matters most– their parent, child or friend and home – hope couldn’t feel further away.Yet that is exactly what Tearfund can bring in Jesus’ name.

Right now our team is working tirelessly, providing essential aid to thousands of vulnerable Iraqis. But as religious and ethnic minorities continue to face unspeakable brutality, our resources are being stretched to the limit – and with winter biting hard your gifts and prayers are vital. Night-time temperatures in Iraq and Syria are unimaginably cold at the moment.

  • In Iraq atrocities are happening daily. We must follow Jesus’ call to bring tangible support that will ease the suffering. Thanks to your support we have provided over 6,500 displaced Iraqis with items such as clothing, kitchen kits, food and hygiene supplies. But more are desperately needed.
  • The conflict in Syria has entered its fourth year and there is no end in sight to the misery for Syrians. 3 million people have fled to neighbouring lands and 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria itself. An estimated 5,000 people are being killed each month. Tearfund is providing over 8,280 people with food parcels each month.
  • At the same, with West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak our resources are being stretched as never before. More than 8,200 people have already died. Tearfund has begun providing food, hygiene parcels and life saving awareness training. But much more is needed.

But never think that you cannot make a difference; every gift is a lifeline to the most vulnerable and every prayer is heard.

Your donation can save a life in Iraq and Syria but also further afield, as we work to prevent the pain and suffering caused by disease, hunger, trafficking, conflict and grinding poverty. With your help we, along with our church partners on the ground can help the most vulnerable children and their families escape the desperate situations they face.

€23 can buy a set of warm winter clothes for three Iraqi children
€46 can provide one family forced to flee with a month’s essential food and hygiene supplies
€117 can provide a stove, fuel and an emergency kitchen kit to a displaced family in Iraq
€140 can cover a month’s rent for a refugee family, providing a roof over their heads this winter
€187 could pay for three children who have been trafficked to be rescued with the help of local police and given safe shelter, counselling and support to begin to heal

Please join with us to bring hope where the need is greatest.
Please click here to donate to our work.

For an up to date prayer bulletin please click here.

Iraq - Winter is coming

Iraq - Winter is coming – 28 Oct 2014

‘Winter is coming.’ The words bring a sense of pending doom, even for people who only know it as a TV show catchphrase. In speaking with displaced communities in northern Iraq, I heard those same words over and over again, and they came with a similar sense of fear and uncertainty about the coming winter.

As part of Tearfund’s needs assessment team, my job was to spend time with the displaced communities to find out what their needs are so we can respond in the most appropriate way.

As we pulled up to the first displaced community, who were living beside a field in the remains of buildings once used for animals, we were warmly welcomed; they pulled out their good mattresses for us to sit on and quickly offered us tea and water.

But before we had even sat down they all started speaking at the same time – rapidly, passionately and with fear in their eyes. I desperately looked to my translator to find out what they were saying, and she said, ‘Winter – they are all saying, “Winter, what are we going to do for the winter?” ’

They fled with whatever they could carry. They have no winter clothes, no winter blankets, no heaters, no shelter – nothing. As we sat in the searing 50 degree heat, it was hard to imagine that winter could be a concern, but winter is coming and in just a few short weeks the temperatures will drop below zero. With current living conditions and supplies being far from suitable for the harsh winter, their fears will become a reality if something isn’t done soon.

They went on to tell us about their time on Mount Sinjar, where food and water were difficult to find and hundreds of children died from dehydration. They told us about their friends and family who were killed as they fled, and about their daughters who are still being held by IS. They told us all this as tears streamed down their faces.

We went to meet different displaced groups, speaking with Yazidis and Christians. From one group to the next, it was the same story, the same horrors, the same pain.

Each time I was lost for words. How could I respond? No words could bring comfort; words could not change what has happened. All I could do was pray – pray that they see compassion in my eyes, pray that they know God’s comfort, and pray that we as Tearfund can do something in a practical way to help alleviate their current suffering and fears for the future.

Fortunately I had the chance to see that begin to happen. We organised clothing distributions where more than 900 children received new clothes, warm enough for the coming months. Our team has given out food, blankets and hygiene kits, and we’re helping make sure people get access to water and sanitation.


Our local partners are taking mobile health clinics to remote areas, and are providing trauma care. In some ways it all feels like a drop in the ocean compared to the needs, but the smiles on the children’s faces when I gave them their new clothes told me otherwise.

Your gifts make this valuable work possible. Please help us to stand alongside those who are suffering in Iraq – donate here

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