In August of 2014, ISIS stormed and took control of Qaraqosh (also known as Bakhdida), the largest Christian city in Iraq. The capture of the city forced its estimated 50,000 residents to flee, many of whom resettled in the Kurdish controlled northern area of Iraq. They joined the estimated 4 million internally displaced people along with the over 288 thousand Syrian refugees across Iraqi. While great efforts have been made to care for the millions of people needing assistance, government and international aid organizations struggle to meet their needs. Displaced Christians unable to rent apartments or find other arrangements live in tent and caravan camps scattered around the Kurdistan capital of Erbil. These camps are often overcrowded and under-resourced with little to offer besides a source of protection. Life in the camps is a simple existence where work and activities are hard to find and as described by one camp’s manager, “Life here is like living as an animal, just sleeping and eating”. As the months drag on, many have lost hope of a better future and one in which they and their families will be safe. Over the past year and a half since their displacement, many Christians have decided to join the millions of people from the Middle East attempting to gain access to Europe. Others have decided to wait, hoping that government forces will retake their land and allow them to return home.
2015 - 2016