Food, Water, Medicine: This Is What a Month’s Worth of Your Love Looks Like in Mosul

It didn’t make the news often, but the battle for Mosul continued last month. And your love kept showing up on the frontlines—again and again—for those whose lives have been ravaged by conflict. We listened as victims of war told us about their needs. Then we worked with a coalition of local staff, friends, and partners to meet them.

When we stopped to look at everything you did for the people of Mosul last month, we were blown away. Here are some highlights…

Turning the water back on for up to 1.6 million

It’s the single-biggest project we’ve ever undertaken, in terms of how many people will be impacted at once. Our friend, Iraqi engineer Yasser Ahmed, continued to oversee wide-ranging efforts to restore municipal water for up to 1.6 million people in Mosul. The water supply was  sabotaged by ISIS, and the large underground pipes were destroyed by war. Now repairs are underway in the first neighborhoods on the eastern side of the city, and inspections were just completed on pipes in three new neighborhoods.

Trucking water into west Mosul

Additionally, because city water service can’t be restored to the western side of Mosul yet—due to the ongoing fight against ISIS—water trucks began going from house to house filling individual barrels and tanks for families. These trucks were received with joy by families who had been using unfiltered water and were at times becoming ill from it. This service is planned to continue until municipal water is restored.

Food on the frontlines in west Mosul

Over six days in early April, we delivered 5,000 food packages to five neighborhoods on the west side of Mosul, where fighting against ISIS continues to bring daily life to a standstill. These packages contained canned meat, rice, cooking oil and other items designed to feed a family of 5-8 people for a month. A lot of logistical planning goes into each delivery— purchasing, packaging, and labeling bags of food, as well as planning security, preparing distribution lists, documenting each family’s receipt of food, and interviewing beneficiaries to learn about unmet needs. Volunteers hoisted thousands of pounds of aid up onto delivery trucks and down onto the shoulders of recipients. They faced the strain of hearing the battle rage a few streets away, as families who weren’t on the list pleaded for food. But they kept showing up day after day for the sake of loving their neighbors.

Mending wounds across Mosul

You continued to support six health clinics in Mosul, providing full salaries for medical staff and several deliveries of medical supplies, including medicines, X-ray film, emergency room supplies, and dental fillings. One of these clinics is the closest in the city to the front lines of conflict. In April, staff performed more than 15,300 consultations. Several of these clinics are housed in tents because permanent buildings are not available.

You also helped provide staff to launch a polio and MMR vaccination program throughout the area.  Volunteers and staff from various parts of Iraq worked late into the night, receiving and storing refrigerated vaccines to care for the children of west Mosul. Many of these displaced children have known ISIS rule for their whole lives and have never received immunizations.

Hygiene kits containing household cleaning supplies and toiletries (including Sisterhood Soap) were distributed through clinics in Mosul. Doctors report already seeing evidence of waterborne ailments, but it is hoped that widespread skin diseases and others maladies can be prevented as these items are used.

Helping those who are steeped in death

One final, sobering note is that our local partner was asked by her team to provide face masks to filter the smell of death in west Mosul. Part of their work is to photograph the bodies of those who have died so that when family members return, they can identify their loved ones and obtain proper death certificates. We are looking into ways to support and encourage these workers who are eyewitnesses to the death around them.

Thank you for all of your love and hard work to unmake violence in Mosul. You are bringing beauty out of the ashes of conflict here in Iraq.