Warm clothes bring cheer to displaced families in Iraq this winter

Distribution of winter clothes in camps for displaced people in Iraq

Anmar Rfaat
Ahmed from Mosul, 12 years old, lives in Baharka IDP camp in Erbil, Iraq, receiving his winter clothes box.
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
18 January 2021

Thousands of families in Iraq have been forced to flee their homes and leave their cities due to violence.

Many of these families live in camps, where they are exposed to cold, rain and winds during the harsh winter season. Employment is scarce, and even for those who manage to find jobs, they work for very low wages, making barely enough to cover food and other basic needs for their families and children.

"My husband works as a low-wage laborer, his salary is not enough to buy clothes," says Umm Muhammad, who has been living in Bahrka camp for the last four years after being displaced from her home in Mosul.

"These clothes bring us happiness. We don’t have much that makes us happy these days due to the situation. We are happy with these simple things," she explains.

Muhammad's mother, who has been living in the camp for four years after her displacement from Mosul due to the conflict.  "
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
Muhammad's mother, who has been living in the camp for four years after her displacement from Mosul due to the conflict.

This winter, despite the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, field workers from UNICEF and its partner, Public Aid Organization (PAO) more than 30,000 winter clothing boxes to IDP camps across Iraq..

"Before receiving these clothes, my son was shivering from the cold at night, now he is warm," explained Manal who lives in Baharka camp in Erbil, Iraq. "It is very difficult for you to know that your child is cold, and you cannot do anything for him."

Manal's children are currently attending school one day a week because of the  school closures due to COVID-19. The rest of the week, Manal helps them study from home .

"I cannot return to my home in Mosul now. The future of my children is where they can be safe. I do not feel safe going to where we fled the fighting," says Manal.

 

 

Manal from Mosul has been living with her children for five years in the Baharka camp for displaced people.
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
Manal from Mosul has been living with her children for five years in the Baharka camp for displaced people.

Each winter boxes contains boots, a winter jacket, sports suit, scarf, gloves, socks, and a hat. 

Nour, 4 years old and her mother after receiving her winter clothes box, in Baharka camp for displaced people in Erbil, Iraq
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
Nour, 4 years old and her mother after receiving her winter clothes box, in Baharka camp for displaced people in Erbil, Iraq

"I trained at this camp as a seamstress so that I could support my family, because my husband is unable to work," says Umm Mostafa who has been living in the camp with her children for five years.

"The quality of the clothes is very good; the thickness is good for this biting cold. When I see my children warm, I feel it too," she says.

 

Mustafa and his brothers inside the caravan in the Baharka camp for displaced people in Erbil, Iraq
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
Mustafa and his brothers inside the caravan in the Baharka camp for displaced people in Erbil, Iraq

 

Every year, UNICEF distributes winter clothes to thousands of children across Iraq.


This year, UNICEF was able to continue distributing winter clothes due to the generous support of its partners, the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Italy and Denmark.