On August 3rd, tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the top of Sinjar Mountain to escape the atrocities of the so called Islamic State. Many remained on the mountain until a corridor could be opened to the safety of Kurdistan. Although the corridor allowed people to flee, some chose to stay behind and protect their ancestral homeland.
Today, thousands of Yazidis still reside on top of the mountain, unable to return to their villages that have been taken by ISIS. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) require humanitarian aid and assistance to meet their basic human needs. Yazda is working to provide care and relief to this community as well as the thousands of Yazidi returnees who have come back to Sinjar after escaping to Kurdistan.
Restoring the Yazidi community and rebuilding the homeland is paramount to the mission of Yazda. Presently, we are focusing efforts in the foothills of the mountain to serve the vast amount of Yazidis who now reside there.
Yazda’s 2016 report, “Humanitarian Aid and Development Opportunities in Sinjar: Caring for IDPs While Rebuilding and Facilitating Returns” provides details on assistance needed in this region:
IDPs Specific Needs:
Winterization is necessary to help vulnerable IDPs cope with the harshness of Sinjar’s cold seasonal climate. Therefore, Yazda is now working to establish a robust winterization intervention.
In Yazda’s needs assessment, it was found that families often experience direct exposure to weather conditions due to poor insulation in their shelters. Now two years into the crisis, these shelters and tents have become worn and insufficient for families to survive winter weather. Yazda has been able to provide some with tarp and rope, but additional supplies are needed.
Yazda recently distributed water filters to 1,000 families in Sinjar to provide access to safe and clean drinking water. The filters were generously donated by one of Yazda’s many partners. Presently, an additional 1,800 filters are scheduled to be delivered.
As families have returned to Sinjar, many have moved into tent communities or areas still rebuilding from ISIS attacks. Some of these places lack proper sanitation facilities. To assist, Yazda has constructed outhouses in IDP areas lacking access to toilets.
Both Returnee and IDPs Needs:
One form of support that serves the needs of all who live in Sinjar is live chickens. To date, Yazda has distributed 2,500 chickens to over 500 families. Through egg production, chickens provide an ongoing sustainable food source. Yazda is presently expanding activities in this area to serve a greater amount of families.
Yazda provides food aid to communities when funding allows.
*Returnees: Those who have opted, despite the continued lack of security and services in Sinjar, to leave the camps in Kurdistan and return to their homeland.
*Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Those displaced from many areas still under ISIS/ISIL control, who have opted to take up residence on the mountain rather than the Dohuk Governorate IDPs camps.