The Escalating Refugee Crisis and the Ongoing Mosul Campaign // November 18
The past month our efforts have been focused on serving the Peshmerga and operating alongside of them with our field-medics and ambulance during the battle for the city of Bashiqa on the edge of Mosul. One of the Peshmerga Generals informed us that our team was involved in extracting 19 wounded soldiers from the combat zone on the worst day of mass casualties during the Bashiqa-offensive. We are grateful we were able to serve and have an impact. We are also grieving with our neighbors over some of the men we extracted who did not survive. It has been a month of funerals and a time of mourning and grief. The majority of casualties so far have been from our hometown of Soran, the HQ of FAI RELIEF in Kurdistan.
During the Bashiqa offensive we were asked to set up a CCP (Casualty Collection Point) to provide crucial stabilizing medical care between the initial extraction from the frontline and the transport to a hospital. We were able to set up the CCP and develop a sustainable base of operations while being on standby for any casualties from snipers and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) that needed to be dismantled. We also had opportunity to treat the more chronic health issues of the soldiers who were able to stop in and meet with our medical personnel. Once Bashiqa was finally cleared of militants and declared safe, we packed up the CCP and returned to home base in Soran to prepare for the next assignment. We are grateful that we are now able to provide a fully operational, well-developed CCP to the Peshmerga that is ready to be deployed when called upon.
Tomorrow we will be shifting back out to Bashiqa to establish a long term base of operations to serve the rising numbers of IDP's arriving from Mosul. With the season of active combat on this side of the city now behind us (for now), we are able to focus entirely on civilian care for the immediate future.
We will be working on the frontline at the berm where the IDP's arrive to provide food, water, blankets, clothing and healthcare upon first contact with new arrivals. Our heart is to do this with great love, diligence and care ascribing dignity to these people who have suffered so much over these past 2 years. With the Iraqi forces now pushing into Mosul and ISIS being hemmed in from every side, the situation is going to progressively deteriorate inside for both militants and civilians. Once a full siege is imposed (and we have reason to believe it likely never will), food, water and basic healthcare rations will dry up in 10-14 days. The severity and scope of the humanitarian crisis can hardly be exaggerated.
Day to day, dozens to hundreds of people have been arriving in groups of various sizes from across the dusty plains from Mosul to the berm the Peshmerga has set up and now maintains. Once a group arrives, the Peshmerga breaks open the berm with bulldozers and allows the IDP’s to come through while being screened for any ISIS presence. Our teams will be onsite for first contact to provide aid, healthcare and comfort. Afterwards the IDP's are transported to temporary emergency camps. Our base of operations will be about 4 miles from outskirts of Mosul in between the outlying neighborhoods and the emergency camps behind the front line.
Our ambulance and 4WD vehicles will be deployed immediately to the various crossings when migration occurs to care for the IDP's and assist in their transportation. Our medically trained personnel and distributors will be on call 24 hours a day. The number of arrivals is picking up significantly and so we are adjusting according.
At the moment we do not have a sufficient flow of supplies available to meet the need and we do not have the financial resources to cover costs of day to day operation. We are asking private citizens, churches and businesses to consider joining hands with us to help provide food, water, blankets and medicine on the ground. We are also appealing to international NGO's and various charity groups operating in the country to channel aid closer to the crisis. At the moment there is a considerable gap between the storehouses of aid and those who need it. We desire to close that gap.