The battle to liberate Mosul, Iraq, from the clutches of the Islamic State has been brutal on the hundreds of thousands of families that live in the Nineveh plains. More than 358,000 innocent men, women, and children have fled their homes with little to no earthly possessions. Too many have been maimed or killed by ISIS mortars, snipers, and improvised explosive devices.
Since October 2016, Samaritan’s Purse has provided food, blankets, and hygiene kits for more than 100,000 displaced people, as well as nutritional support for vulnerable young mothers and their infants. “No matter who we are, whether we are Muslim or Christian, you give us food with a kind smile,” said Sumaya, a displaced widow and single mother of seven children. “This was the first time since my husband passed away that someone stopped to smile at me and listen to me and help me…You have brought a smile to my face again.”
Through a unique child-friendly program, 100 of the most vulnerable kids are playing games, having fun, and laughing again—all while learning about love, joy, peace, patience, and other biblical traits. “The classes may seem simple, but the idea is to give these children two hours a week of an alternate world—a world where they can be children again,” said Jessica Langevin, Child-Friendly Spaces Program Coordinator in Iraq. “We are sowing seeds and giving these children a chance to dream about their future.”
Just outside Mosul lies the Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospital. Here, more than 1,400 Level-1 trauma patients have received compassionate treatment by Christian medical staff. Equipped with an emergency room, two operating rooms, more than 50 beds, and dozens of staff, our facility has provided life-saving medical care and surgical aid for patients who would otherwise lose their lives before they could reach the nearest established medical center in Erbil, one to two hours away.
Through this critical medical facility close to the conflict, Samaritan’s Purse is uniquely positioned to provide both physical and spiritual care—a holistic approach that differentiates us from other field hospitals in the area. “We are meeting needs that nobody else can meet,” said one of the nurses. By deploying the field hospital outside of Mosul and staffing it with faithful believers skilled in trauma care, Samaritan’s Purse has established a beachhead of eternal hope in an area oppressed by hatred, violence, and evil.