Families in Iraq Say ‘Alhamdulillah’ for Food Aid

April 28, 2015

Submitted by Islamic Relief USA 

Islamic Relief USA’s Fareeha Amir visited IRUSA’s Iraq projects in March. She describes her visit.

Our car pulled up to a grassland March 25 in the outskirts of Erbil, Iraq. It was early on a cloudy morning, and a crowd of hundreds waited in the muddy field. Their postures showed tension, as they hoped to receive a share of the food sent by Islamic Relief USA donors. These are displaced families, who left their homes in order to save their lives from ISIS, and they all needed food.

Maryam Moosa waited patiently in the field as the sun rose. Two trucks with food packages arrived, and she took her place in the women’s line. Moosa had left her home in Tikrit with her 13 children, and made the 130-mile journey to Erbil for safety, and they desperately need the help.

Courtesy: IRUSA

Courtesy: IRUSA

The conflict in Iraq has created a major humanitarian crisis. Iraq has one of the world’s largest populations of people displaced inside their own country. They lack the protection of refugees who cross borders and become registered and internationally recognized. Those adrift in their own country have a smaller chance of finding organized assistance. Since January 2014, about 2.7 million people have been displaced from their homes.

Moosa got her ID verified and then received her heavy package of food, which included items like canned chicken and beef, vegetable oil, rice, lentils, powdered milk, dates, sesame juice, tea and bread. She also received soap, detergent, toothbrushes and other hygiene items.

Courtesy: IRUSA

Courtesy: IRUSA

Moosa and her grandson, Kahthan, carried the heavy boxes to their home. They were grateful to receive the food because there are many more displaced families than Islamic Relief can help. After all of the program participants received their shares, the rest of the packages were given to other members of the crowd who had gathered in hopes of finding something left over. Moosa was one of about 9,000 people in Iraq who received food and hygiene items from Islamic Relief USA donors this winter. The food would be a great help for Moosa and her family, but it wouldn’t last as long as intended because at least 20 people share a package intended for only 5. There are 5 families living in her house, and although any help is welcome, they still need a lot more.

The distribution March 25 was one of the last distributions in the winterization project. Over the three months of this project, 1,500 displaced families received 3,800 food parcels and hygiene kits in Erbil and Hiran City.

This project is now complete, but a new one was approved this month, which will insha’Allah provide more food and hygiene kits to internally displaced and vulnerable Iraqis in and near Erbil. An estimated 900 families will receive food packages and hygiene kits each month for four months. The projects serve Iraqis and Kurds alike, without regard for ethnicity or religion.

Courtesy: IRUSA

Courtesy: IRUSA

Qaiser Sin Ahmed also received a package the same day as Moosa in the muddy field in Erbil. “We are just people,” he said. “No matter what race or religion, we need to help each other out.”

The IDPs in Iraq have seen little other than destruction and violence in the last 10 years, yet they still remain hopeful and thankful. Ahmed’s brother and father were killed by ISIS, but he still raises his hand when receiving his package and says with the brightest smile, “Alhamdulillah.”