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    Posted August 26, 2014 by
    Erbil, Iraq
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your stories from the Middle East

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    Families displaced by violence in Northern Iraq tell of terrifying ordeal


    The UN now estimates more than 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes. Photos from World Vision aid workers on the ground show families building shelter out of anything they can find – sticks, blankets, old cardboard boxes. They are living in overcrowded camps, churches, outside in tents. Host families have opened up their homes as well, but the need for food, water, hygiene items, blankets, and shelter is urgent.


    World Vision aid workers spoke to mothers and children who told heart-breaking stories of fleeing the violence:


    • “Fifteen people in my family have died,” says Shereen, a mother of three. “We came here fifteen days ago. We were in the mountain for a week, then we walked into Syria, then to here. If anyone can help us, please help us. Don’t just go away. We can’t sustain ourselves here…The days are long and hot and the nights are cold. I want things to be better for my children. They don’t deserve this.”


    • “I walked down the mountain,” remembers six-year-old Salma. “It was a bad place. I was very afraid. I am still very afraid. I can’t laugh. I don’t know how to anymore.”


    “We are gravely concerned about increasing violence in the Middle East and its effects on children,” said Wynn Flaten, World Vision’s response director in Iraq. “It’s especially concerning that this most recent wave has targeted Christians and other minorities. We know that when religious freedom is crushed, so are many of the rights that allow children and communities to flourish.”

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