Women from the Iraqi town of Fallujah, located just 45km west of Baghdad, have bemoaned their living conditions and have called on the federal government to help them overcome their situation.
Although some aid has been provided by local organisations, many of the women say this is not enough to cover their living needs, and will only suffice for “one or two days”. Thus far, only 125 aid baskets have been delivered to Fallujah, which even the local volunteers themselves admit is not enough.
Many of the women have also been left without husbands or a family network following the devastating attack on their homes and livelihoods by ISIS militants, which in such a patriarchal society, makes finding work and sustaining a livelihood tough.
“Now, those who receive food aid are asking for work,” said one volunteer. “But here they pay no salaries, we are volunteers here. If there are jobs and salaries, we will tell them to register.”
These requests come despite numerous initiatives organised in Fallujah to help widowed women. This includes initiatives to rebuild and repair damaged roofs, as well as get more widowed women into work. A recent local drive saw women rehabilitate and paint local schools in Fallujah after the damage incurred fighting ISIS. But despite these positive signs, further efforts are required.
The town of Fallujah was liberated in June 2016 after the city fell to ISIS militants in January 2014. The town was heavily destroyed in the fighting, although recent efforts, even by the Iraqi army, have attempted to clear rubble and debris that still lie in and around the city.