A new home in a place of safety for fleeing Mosul residents
HASANSHAM U2 CAMP, Iraq - As temperatures soared, father of five, Fawaz, a market porter from Mushaifa in the west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, moved into a new shelter with his family in UNHCR’s new Hasansham U2 displacement camp.
The family were among the first to move into the camp, which opened earlier this week, to provide emergency housing for an increasing number of Iraqi families fleeing the fighting in the besieged city.
Like others, they received a tent and emergency items, including mattresses, blankets, a cooker, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and kitchen and hygiene sets.
“We left as fighting was going on over our heads."
“We left as fighting was going on over our heads; shelling, sniper fire and so on. We managed to escape unseen using the holes in the walls of next-door houses that ISIL had created in our neighbourhood,” he told UNHCR.
The first buses with newly displaced Iraqi families arrived at the camp on Tuesday, but as of this morning (Friday, May 12) the new site sheltered nearly 500 children, women and men - 96 families in total, UNHCR told a press briefing in Geneva today.
The camp, the 12th camp and the latest one to be built by UNHCR and its partners in response to the ongoing Mosul emergency, is located around 60 km west of Mosul along the highway to Erbil.
It and others opened by UNHCR over the last four weeks have provided welcome sanctuary for those fleeing violence.
“We ran and it was very hard; my wife carried our eight month old daughter, and I carried my other daughter. It was terrible; we saw so many dead bodies along the way that at one point my wife fainted and even now, my children are having nightmares and wake up crying,” added Fawaz.
“It’s a miracle to be here”, added his wife, Intisar, who was struggling with the temperatures at the camp site, which had already reached 36 degrees Celsius.
“We escaped the shelling and the children are all safe. The place where we lived was destroyed by a mortar. We were running out of food; just eating water and flour. We have nothing to go back to… we have nothing now”.
The children are looking forward to going to school, and one of their sons, Fares, 13, is eager to start playing football again.
“We’re looking forward to sleeping here tonight in privacy, as one family”, said Intisar. “We’re looking forward to the peace and quiet.”
Hasansham U2 has capacity to accommodate more than 9,000 people when fully occupied.
“The risk to people fleeing Mosul is now very great, with people having to move being in grave danger. People speak of conditions that are desperate and worsening,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told the press briefing in Geneva today.