ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Dozens of IDPs staged a protest at Hassan Sham camp in Erbil on Thursday, criticizing the Iraqi government for failing to supply fuel and electricity as winter’s cold settles in.
"Our condition is miserable," lamented a protester. "We have received just one gallon of oil in the past six months."
The protesters held banners pleading for help from international organizations.
"Where is human conscience?" read a yellow banner held by a teen.
An elderly man asked the Iraqi government when it is going to rebuild Mosul so they can return home and escape camp life.
The Iraqi government had planned to close Hassan Sham camp at the end of 2018, a move that would throw the families living there into limbo.
Thousands of people displaced from Mosul have chosen to remain in camps, despite the hardships, because of security concerns and inability to earn a livelihood in their home neighbourhoods.
According to data from three camps for Iraqis displaced from Mosul, 7-10 families return home on a weekly basis. But 20 families come back to the camps.
Families in Hassan Sham also ask for electricity to light their tents at night.
A child carries a banner wondering "How long will the camps continue to be dark?"
According to officials of Hassan Sham and Khazir camps, the Iraqi government does not have any plan to improve the situation for the IDPs.
“The fate of the camp is unclear as the Iraqi government has not made a final decision. There are plenty of problems here and the people feel uncertain as the Iraqi government is not taking responsibility,” said Rashid Darwesh of the Barzani Charity Foundation, manager of Hassan Sham and Khazir camps.
Two little girls carry a asking where is the camp’s generator maintenance team to fix their electricity issue.
The families living here have little choice but to wait, uncertain of what the future holds.