Thousands of children were separated from their families during the nine-months-long battle for the city of Mosul in Iraq.
The Christian Post reports that the conflict broke apart many families and now that the Islamic State has been mostly driven out of Mosul, displaced children need help reconnecting with their families and communities.
The chaos that overtook Mosul and surrounding areas in the past months included air strikes, oppression by the Islamic State, suicide bombings, and fighting in the streets. All these things contributed to the high number of families that are now trying to reconnect with lost loved ones.
Some children’s parents were also killed in the conflict and they are now orphans.
Humanitarian organizations are stepping in to provide necessary aid. "These children are extremely vulnerable," said Mariyampillai Mariyaselvam, a child protection specialist with UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund). "Most have gone through a very painful history."
Many children have similar stories to that of nine-year-old Meriam who went to visit her grandmother in west Mosul last October. When fighting began, Meriam and her grandmother were unable to be in contact with the rest of the family. After Mosul was recaptured by government forces last month, Meriam’s father asked UNICEF workers for help in finding his family, and fortunately, Meriam and her grandmother were able to be reunited with their family members.
Other children are less fortunate and have been found in debris from bombings. Many are in a state of shock and don’t know where their families are.
Humanitarian workers are still attempting to get a grasp on how many children are in need of help. It is estimated that at least 3,800 children are in need of immediate aid.
"Our primary focus is care and protection for them. We try to make sure that they are provided immediate care," said Mariyaselvam.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: July 31, 2017