June, 2016 Diaper Delivery to Displaced Families In Iraq

By William J. Murray – Program Director

Our Diapers for Refugees project in Iraq conducted our second distribution of the year this month.  This shipment of diapers was  delivered to IDP Christians in the Ankawa – Erbil area in northern Iraq. As before, the diapers were distributed to those families with the greatest need. Ankawa is an almost 100% Christian city next to Erbil, the population of which has doubled since the fall of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains to the Islamic State. Most of the families live in single rooms not the mostly middle class homes they were driven from.

Diapers distributed to young Christian mothers at one of seven locations in northern Iraq. A total of 160,000 diapers were delivered

Diapers distributed to young Christian mothers at one of seven locations in northern Iraq. A total of 160,000 diapers were delivered

Pictured at right is distribution at Al Amal center in Ankawa.  Al-Amal Hope Center for the Displaced People of Nineveh is the official name of the building above. The several story structure was intended to be a hotel, but construction was stopped as the Islamic State came close to the city in 2014. The shell of the building is now used as a camp for displaced Christians who live on five different floors of the building.

During June in total there were 160,000 quality diapers of various sizes distributed to the displaced Christian families with infants and toddlers at seven different locations. Because of a lack of hot water and washing machines as well as an acute power shortage in the region cloth diapers for the time being are not a good option. 

Al-Amal is one of the locations where our Christmas programs were held for Christian children in 2015. We will once again host Christmas programs for as many as 2,000 children of displaced Christian families, mostly from the Nineveh Plains again this year. The Christmas programs bring hope to the single most persecuted group of people in the world today. 

One of many young women who received a very welcome supply of diapers.

One of many young women who received a very welcome supply of diapers.

The Diapers for Refugees Program is are currently distributing five different sizes. Many women receiving diapers expressed their thanks and said it was a blessing from the Lord to have them.

Currently the Diapers for Refugees program is delivery 160,000 diapers every three months although monthly deliveries are planned funds permitting. The cost of a single shipment is $18,000 or just 11 cents each. As the Diapers for Refugees program is aided at Christians who have been declared victims of genocide by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. All funds must be privately raised as officially the displaced Iraqi Christians are not considered refugees as long as they still reside in Iraq, even though they have been forced from their homes, have no jobs, and entire families live in single rooms or in tents.

The diaper program has been very uplifting for me because we are literally changing lives with the program. Babies who were in pain with rash and open sores, or who had no diapers at all, can now play and sleep in clean safe diapers. The mothers know other Christians care about their families. I would like nothing better than to continue the diapers for refugees program and expand it to more displaced Christian families in Iraq. Please pray with me that we will have funds for another shipment of diapers to families in Iraq in September. Learn how you can help.

Diapers For Refugees – Update 5-20-16

We have scheduled the next delivery of diapers in Iraq for June. Right now I can’t release the exact date, as we are still negotiating price and security issues with the supplier. Your prayers are needed. Prices are very volatile in a war time situation. Prices can vary a great deal just based on which roads are open. If a truck that normally takes a two-hour direct route has to travel five or six hours out of the way and have a guard on board, the price can change. If a warehouse cannot be restocked, that causes a change in price as well.

Photo 11-03-16 3 15 49 PMThe first week of May the Kurdish forces and allied Christian militias held the line against Islamic State, but the defense was penetrated north of Mosul. Some Islamic State fighters were able to get about 100 miles inside Erbil Province but not into the city. An American special forces fighter, a Navy Seal, was killed in the fighting. If the Islamic State had been able to hold the road they captured, the route for our diaper shipment from Dohuk would be cut off.

The Navy Seal killed was Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV. This was his third tour of duty in Iraq, and that alone is an indicator of how thin American forces are. President Obama uses Special Warfare fighters where major land forces should be operating. Our men were outnumbered almost ten to one and still managed to kill over 100 of the Islamic State fighters. The shame of Keating’s death is that money from Saudi Arabia and weapons from the United States birthed the ISIL, or Islamic State, to start with.

Please pray for protection of the people of Erbil, and that the road from Dohuk to Erbil is not cut off by the Islamic State again.

Virtually all aid supplied to displaced Christians in Iraq is furnished by Christian groups, while aid from secular organizations goes primarily to Muslims.

William J. Murray, Chairman

Diapers For Refugees – Update 4-22-16

There are just some things people don’t talk about when it comes to personal sanitation. Diapers for example, are not mentioned much in American culture. Who wants to hear about the dirty diapers of someone else’s kid? In the Middle East diapers are never mentioned, which is Photo 14-03-16 2 04 25 PMwhy the great need for them among Christian refugee families has been overlooked for so many years.

This is what I found out after learning of the need and investigating further. Mothers are using what are essentially rags for their babies. Anything from cut up old sheets and shirts, to the rags that are sold to polish cars. These are not the absorbent cloth diapers that are made for the purpose, so they often leak. Most of these makeshift diapers are washed out by hand in cold water, many times without any soap. Having a place to dry them can also be a difficult issue.

My first response was to try and supply cloth diapers until the realization hit me that in most cases there was no way to properly wash out the cloth diapers, and children would still get bad rashes and perhaps illness from them. In places where hot water is available we will furnish some cloth diapers, but for now the disposable type are most in need.

More than diapers: There are some other items that are also not talked about publicly but which I discovered are needed, such as women’s sanitary products. (Sorry men, but I just have to mention this.) These are expensive and needed. Also, there are some elderly and disabled people among the refugees, women in particular for some reason, who require adult diapers.

The Diapers for Refugees program is not yet mature. It took three years to build a network in three nations to provide thousands of children with a Christmas program and food for their families. Programs can’t be built overnight. Delivery and distribution has to be ironed out. Once a family is in this program we want to keep them in it until they can afford to buy diapers or the child no longer needs them. We just can’t pass them out willy-nilly. We have begun work on a specific Internet site for the program that will be available at www.Diapers4Refugees.org that will have reports and a photo gallery but that takes time to build as well.

William Murray
Religious Freedom Coalition

Diapers For Refugees – Update 3-18-16

diapers for refugees - unloadingWhen our Iraqi ministry partner visited Washington in February, we talked about expanding the Christmas program and about current needs of the refugees. He told me at the time that while Americans think to send clothes and food, what babies really need are diapers. He described the need as desperate.

The first week of March we delivered a 30-foot truck load of new high quality diapers to the ministry warehouse in Ankawa, Iraq. Within days, families in need were registered and the distribution began. As I visit with congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill I will remind them of the suffering of these Christian families that has come about because of a Sunni inspired war against the Syrian government – a war which to this day the Obama Administration supports. The misery of these families affects me deeply when I am in Iraq.

William J. Murray
Religious Freedom Coalition

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