Syrian refugees are arriving in Iraq with nothing other than what they are wearing. Nineteen of the 1,600 refugees at Arbat Camp are pregnant, and they don’t have any supplies for their newborns. Samaritan’s Purse is providing tools for these mothers to care for their young ones.
Hannah Hamrick is working as the child protection program manager with our team in northern Iraq.
In a population of approximately 1,600 Syrian refugees living in Camp Arbat, there are currently 19 pregnant mothers. One need Samaritan’s Purse has identified is the lack of adequate supplies for the newborn babies, especially in light of the impending winter months. The team put together a care package for the mothers containing clothing, blankets, pacifiers, and baby shampoo and oil. Then the team went through the camp, delivering the supplies to each expectant mother in her tent.
In some tents, we were met by the tired but contented faces of mothers who had recently given birth to their babies. The little ones slept soundly, unaware of their vulnerable position and the harsh realities into which they have been born. In another tent, we were met with great sadness, as one mother told us how she had lost her baby the week prior, the difficult journey from Syria to Iraq proving too arduous for the mother and child.
We visited a young expectant mother, Amira, who lives in the camp with her husband, Mohammad. Amira was a university student studying to be an English teacher when they were forced to flee. She is newly married and four months pregnant with her first child. Her parents and siblings remain in Syria, a fact that causes her continual anxiety.
“We talk to them as often as we can but are afraid of what news the next phone call may bring,” she said.
Amira expressed fears of giving birth to her first child so far from her home and her family in a hospital where she does not even speak the language of the doctors and nurses. She prays for peace in Syria, for the end of the terrible conflict that has caused her people so much pain and loss. She longs for the day when she will return to Syria and will bring her new child home to meet her family.
Another young woman named Eman, seven months pregnant with her second child, greeted us warmly.
“This is the best gift I could ever receive,” she exclaimed. “It is exactly what I need. Thank you. May God bless you.”