Mission East is operational in Iraq with a Team of Emergency Experts
The Danish emergency organisation Mission East has established a team of emergency aid experts on the ground in Northern Iraq which is currently witnessing one the largest humanitarian crises in the world. The team will secure clean water, food and shelter for internally displaced Christians and Yazidis in the Dohuk Governorate.
By Per Bergholdt Jensen
Thousands of Christian and Yazidi families have fled from their homes in recent months in Northern Iraq due to religious and ethnic persecution. Mission East is working to provide them with basic humanitarian aid.
“Up until now Mission East has contributed towards the provision of emergency food to 5,100 displaced Christians living in and around churches, schools and in shared apartments. We are currently preparing for the distribution of urgently needed winterization items to over 1,200 Yazidis living in unfinished buildings and makeshift shelters. The winter can be harsh in the Kurdish mountains and these people are extremely vulnerable since they have basically lost everything,” says Kim Hartzner, Secretary General of Mission East.
Mission East will provide food and drinking water as well as shelter and winterisation kits to the displaced minorities. In addition there will also be focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, including packages with soap and diapers for babies. Clean water and sanitation are extremely important measures in order to prevent epidemics in the cramped camps and informal settlements as well as other improvised shelters.
Lastly, Mission East also wants to provide psycho-social support to persons who have been psychologically affected by the violent events in recent weeks and months, in particular in relation with traumatised children.
Support to thousands of internally displaced people
The objective of Mission East is to help thousands of internally displaced people in Northern Iraq, but due to the widespread nature of the disaster it is still uncertain exactly how many families it will be possible to assist.
“The situation in Northern Iraq is very chaotic and unmanageable, but Mission East has reached an agreement with the Syrian Orthodox Church, which is in contact with many of the displaced Christians. The Church is doing a fantastic effort in taking the very difficult circumstances into consideration. In cooperation we manage to distribute emergency help to the displaced families. However, the Syrian Orthodox Church also needs our expert advice to undertake this task. In addition, Mission East is also cooperating with different international organisations so we can supplement each other’s resources, strengths and competencies,” says Kim Hartzner.
The team of Mission East in Iraq consists of emergency experts from Armenia, Germany, United States and South Africa. The team will establish water supplies, sanitation and hygiene, as well as, securing logistics and safety measures, and undertaking the administrative and financial aspects of the emergency operation.
About Mission East
Mission East is a Danish relief and development organisation, which works to help vulnerable populations, supporting communities’ capacities to organize and assist themselves, through activities ranging from disaster relief to development assistance. Mission East works in the following countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma / Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Romania and Tajikistan.
Mission East is also involved in humanitarian aid for the victims of the Syrian civil war in Syria and Lebanon.
Mission East has previously worked for four years in Iraq with the internally displaced.