Iraqi Red Crescent volunteers deliver relief supplies to families who have fled from the violence in Iraq

Published: 9 July 2014 14:54 CET

By Joe Cropp, IFRC

Joe Cropp, a communication delegate for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has been deployed to Kurdistan region.


The volunteers in Sinjar are young. In their teens and early 20s, they have the relaxed attitude of veterans as they gather in the Red Crescent compound for this morning’s delivery of relief – simple food parcels containing bread and tins of beans. Baby-faced Sakar, in his last year of high school, 21-year-old biology student Salam, and 24-year-old Emad-Aldenu climb into the first truck.

The first drop off is the massive community hall on the outskirts of the town, housing some 200 families. The delivery is organised, with men lining up patiently to collect the food packages from the back of the truck. The volunteers have been here many times over the past month, and there is an easy relationship. The next stop is a school further up the road. The ‘boys’ shuttle between the truck and the school house with the parcels of food for the 15 families living there.

But as the heat rises through the morning to 43C, so do tempers. At the last drop-off, a half-finished building site housing some 20 families, the crowd starts to turn into a mob as people fear there is not enough to go around.  Voices are raised, one man scrambles on the truck and grabs some bags before running off, others are about to do the same.

The boys have been here before – with thousands of displaced people in the small border town, sometimes there is not enough to go around. The delivery pauses, the truck moves 20 metres up the road, and with the help of community leaders, an almost embarrassed calm returns. The delivery continues. There is not enough this time, but the truck will be back tomorrow.

IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for CH6.4 million in cash, kind or services to help support the Iraqi Red Crescent Society meet the needs of 180,000 people displaced by the violence in Iraq.