Preparing for the trip to Iraq

I’m very excited to announce I will soon be in Iraq to attend meetings with NGOs, further our projects, and visit as many of the vulnerable Yezidis we support as possible. I’ll be staying for 3 weeks, traveling between camps and Sinjar, where we’re supporting underfunded medical projects in Sinjar and distributing much-needed aid.

There is practically no health provision for pregnant mothers and newborns in Shingal city and surrounding villages and areas of Sinjar mountain. There are around 60,000 Yezidis and others who survive with little to no aid or medical care, thanks to location, cost, and political and warring factions. This equates to approximately 8% of the entire world population of Yezidis surviving after the genocide by ISIS in 2014. Since then the international community has failed to provide international protection or effective help rebuilding their community.

There are around 10,000 women of childbearing age. Traditionally Yezidis marry at a young age and have extremely large families to ensure their survival. So it stands to reason that there are many at-risk mothers both very young and very old.

The lack of antenatal care and widespread malnutrition leads to many complexities and genetic defects, particularly cerebral palsy. There is currently no family planning provision or access to contraception independently. Chronic diseases are not managed and pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes can occur without any monitoring.

There is no surgical provision in Sinjar at all, which leaves those requiring emergency ceasarians at extreme risk. They must choose between a hospital in an area feared by many Yezidis such as Mosul city, or a nine-hour journey via Mosul to Duhok. Ambulance cover is scant and lack of fuel in the area a very real problem.

Babies cannot currently receive immediate post-natal intervention, as there is no resuscitation equipment or ventilators. There is also no blood bank or even blood analysis equipment. The vaccination of children has not occurred regularly for the last 3 years, and many have received no cover from serious disease.

Lifestyle conditions are appalling. With a lack of assistance and embargos imposed on aid, Yezidis live in ramshackle tents or destroyed buildings with no likelihood of escape. There is very poor access to water, nutritional food or fuel for heating and cooking.

I’m eager to get back out there to continue with our various projects and visit the many at-risk Yezidis supported by your kind donations. I’ll be sure to update the blog and social feeds throughout my trip.

Thank you all for your help. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

Anne Norona
Founder, Yezidi Emergency Support

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