Ten-member Yazidi family forced to flee Iraq

Published: 8 November 2016 14:36 CET

By Caroline Haga, IFRC

Dumu Shivan’s youngest child, now three-and-a-half months old, was born in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - far away from his home in Iraq. The family of ten have been waiting for news about their future at the Gevgelija reception centre since March.

“We are Yazidis and had to flee the destruction caused by ISIS,” says 30-year-old Dumu. 

“Our home town Sinjar barely exists anymore - everyone was being killed, including children. 

“Women were being abducted and trafficked. Terrorists killed as many as 7,000 people in one day when we were in Iraq. Even here we’re still scared of them, they will kill anyone they can.”

Attacked from all sides

As Dumu’s mum was Kurdish, he tried to find safety for his family in Kurdistan. But it was difficult to be accepted and his older children were refused entry to school.

“We don’t have anything against anyone but we are attacked from all sides,” he explains. “We are stripped of any power or land we have.”

At Gevgelija, the ten-member family has lived for more than six months in one small container with bunk beds. Despite the conditions, Dumu is happy his children are safe and they have access to essential supplies from the Red Cross of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, like food and clothing, at the reception centre.

He says: “The children are okay here but I still worry about their future. We don’t know what will happen to us. Hopefully we’ll be able to live in peace in any safe and decent country.”

Red Cross operations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are funded by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) emergency appeal. The appeal, of six million Swiss francs, includes financial support from the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and other donors.