It was recently announced by the International Refugee Committee that the number of people displaced by war in Iraq is at least 4 million. This week you will hear from Um Sama, a woman who was displaced from her home in 2005 by violence in Iraq’s “Triangle of Death.”
Although Um Sama was interviewed in late 2005, we are airing her story now due to the recent revelations about the magnitude of Iraq’s refugee crisis. Um Sama, a Sunni, is married to a Shi’a. The death threats her family has received, apparently from Sunni insurgent groups, are an increasing issue for all Iraqis.
While argument continues over the exact nature of the “civil war” or “sectarian violence” in Iraq, Um Sama and other Iraqi civilians are experiencing a hellish existence, many forced into refugee camps in Syria and Jordan where they are often tolerated at best.
Iraqis who could not gain refugee status are in hiding all over Jordan and Syria. In Jordan they are especially fearful of being discovered and forced out of the country as Jordan’s small population begins to feel the full burden of the crisis from its neighboring country.
Beyond the crisis of Iraqis fleeing their country, there are thousands missing since the conflict began, and millions believed to have been internally displaced. The United Nations held a conference last week in Geneva to shed new light on Iraq’s continuing refugee crisis.
To hear more from Iraqis about the problems they face as refugees, see this story about a camp in Fallujah for internally displaced Iraqis, or hear from Iraqis who were stuck last summer in Jordan’s Ruweishid Camp.