More than 300 thousand displaced Yezidi Kurds in Kurdistan Region
The Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister’s envoy for people who fled ISIS terrorist organization from Sinjar, Dr. Nouri Osman Sinjari, said that since the capture of the town by ISIS, 263,000 have fled to Duhok, 20,000 to Erbil, 20,000 to Slemani, and a few to neighbouring Turkey and Syria. He said many have been rescued from Sinjar Mountain.
In an interview with KRG.org, Dr. Nouri said the “KRG established this special representation office to monitor the situation and assess the needs of displaced people who fled ISIS persecution from Sinjar and its environs and who sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region due to the takeover of their homeland”. With the arrival of winter rains and colder temperatures their needs have greatly increased.
About 10,000 people, mostly Yezidi Kurds, have decided to remain on Sinjar Mountain with Peshmerga and volunteer fighters to defend their homeland. The Prime Minister’s envoy explained, “Those still on the mountain remain by choice because they do not want to leave their homes. Some evacuated earlier but have returned to defend their homeland. Some even came from Europe and have been killed in fighting ISIS terrorists.”
Iraqi and US forces continue to airdrop humanitarian supplies, including food and medicine, and the ill and injured are being evacuated. This action continues in cooperation with the Federal Government of Iraq. He lauded the support of the Iraqi President Dr. Fuad Masoum and Iraqi Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari.
However, Dr. Nouri Osman Sinjari highlighted insufficient response by the Iraqi government in meeting the emergency needs of the displaced people who fled to the Kurdistan Region. The Region is host to 1.4 million displaced people from center-south Iraq, including 70,000 Christians and 300,000 Yezidis from Nineveh Governorate, and more than 200,000 refugees from Syria.
With the Federal Government of Iraq suspending funding to the Kurdistan Region since January, meeting the emergency needs of this exceptionally high number of displaced people has been particularly difficult.
Despite the formation of a national committee to assist displaced people, headed by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Salih Al-Mutalq, the response has been inadequate, especially in the provision of health care. The KRG is in contact with the committee and continues to seek full support.
Dr. Nouri praised the role of the people of the Kurdistan Region and especially the people of Duhok Governorate for their support and offers of assistance to so many. Duhok is host to more displaced people than any other governorate in the country. He praised the Governor of Duhok and all government staff for their hard work.
He highlighted the efforts of the Duhok Directorate of Health which started a vaccination campaign to prevent epidemic diseases in cooperation and with support of international health organizations. Despite inadequate Iraqi government funding, the KRG allocated about $100 million to Duhok for health services. This includes funding to send serious cases abroad for treatment.
As the Kurdistan Region is the forefront of the fight against ISIS terrorism on behalf of the world, the Prime Minister’s envoy urged the international community, particularly the US and UK, to expand and accelerate military and humanitarian assistance.
With ISIS threatening further aggression and atrocities, Dr. Nouri said the situation in Sinjar remains alarming. Atrocities committed against Yezidis are being documented. Hundreds have been killed, buried in mass graves, with some bodies being uncovered by recent rains.
He noted that Yezidis are inseparable from their fellow Kurds. Their religious texts are written in Kurdish. The Prime Minister’s envoy concluded the KRG seeks the persecution of Yezidi Kurds to be internationally recognized as genocide.