USAID Food Baskets Provide Relief to Sinjar's Most Vulnerable

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
This critical food assistance provided one month of rations to 26,000 residents across Sinjar and Sinuni.

Sinjar is a rural district in Iraq's northwest Ninewa province bisected by the Sinjar Mountains. In 2016, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) occupied Sinjar and targeted the district’s Yezidi residents for genocide. ISIS was eventually defeated, and Sinjar liberated, but displaced residents of Sinjar attempting to return home faced a number of overwhelming challenges. The spread of the COVID-19 virus in recent months further complicated the situation, spurring many displaced Yezidi families to accelerate their return home in order to reduce potential exposure to the virus in crowded camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The accelerated timeline prevented many families from securing livelihoods and income-generating opportunities necessary to support their families and restore their homes.

In an effort to alleviate the financial burden on vulnerable families in Sinjar, USAID/OTI, in partnership with Sunrise Organization for Civil Society Development and Nadia’s Initiative, delivered 5,200 food baskets across 102 villages and neighborhoods in Sinjar and the nearby town of Sinuni. This critical food assistance provided one month of rations to 26,000 residents. Nadia’s Initiative, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, supported this activity with public outreach efforts.

One of the local residents, returning after six years of displacement in Dohuk with a family of 11, thanked USAID for its assistance: 

“I never wanted to leave my home when ISIS took over Sinjar, but for the sake of my family’s safety, we had to flee. I yearned for the day I would return to my home for many years.” When asked about the reasons for returning at this time, the resident responded, “Sinjar will not be rebuilt if we do not come back.”

The potential spread of the COVID-19 virus in IDP camps also encouraged many families who were originally from Sinjar to return.

"I received the food basket just eight days after my return, and that made me feel welcome and that someone cares and thinks of me and my family. Also, it gave us goods that we can rely on until we fully settle in our new place."

Last updated: September 12, 2022

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