Charmaine Hedding vividly recalls media coverage of Islamic State militants bringing their bloodthirst to the Nineveh Plain of Iraq in August 2014. Christians whose families had lived for two millennia in that region fled in droves. Those who couldn’t flee were executed or enslaved. Nonconforming Muslims suffered similar fates.
Entire towns and villages were deserted as Christians moved to safer regions hundreds of miles from the scourge of ISIS.
Earlier this month, Shai Fund went in to Turkey and Iraq to investigate the needs of Christian refugees who have fled Iraq and Syria, and to deliver aid to those Christians still displaced in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria.
Ainkawa, the Christians suburb in Erbil has absorbed 120,000 Christians. Christians that fled their ancient lands. They come from places with names like the Ninevah plains that remind us of our Bible readings.
Since August 2013, thousands of Syrian and now Iraqi asylum seekers have arrived in Bulgaria via Turkey. The influx of asylum seekers into Bulgaria has been a challenge to the local authorities, which have never had to absorb such a substantial numbers of asylum seekers.
The first day at the clinic we were able to help 228 people. The second day we assisted 167 and 750 people received food aid. By day two people had heard that we were open and we saw injuries from the Typhoon that had not been taken care of medically.
The trucks were loaded with medicines, relief aid, tents for clinics, camping cots for patients and a large 6.5 VGA generator. From here we headed to the port were local communities had arranged for the team and goods to go by ferry from Cebu to Ormoc.
The Philippines islands of Leyte and Samar are the areas where we are concentrating. Logistics are hard as the typhoon has destroyed most local infrastructure with debris covers the roads. The big issue for us is how to move meds, food and NFI emergency packs (non-food items). We don't want to be a burden on the struggling locals and so we have opted to be fully independent in the field.