Tens of thousands of children in Mosul and across Iraq have been orphaned as a result of the brutality of ISIS and devastating conflicts in the country. As with all conflicts, children are the most vulnerable and the most in need of support. However, the damage caused by ISIS and their brutal military campaign across the northern and western parts of Iraq, greatly damaged the social support system in the region.
Many orphanages lack funding and support to carry out their function effectively and cater for the exponential rise of orphans in the liberated areas. This is especially the case in Mosul and the rest of the province of Nineveh, where there is a clear lack of orphanages.
This has meant that thousands of orphans have been scattered across the province in camps for internally displaced people (IDP). According to local statistics, there are more than 13,000 orphans in displacement camps in Nineveh Province, who have been left behind without any support or protection.
The orphanages that are running in the province suffer from a lack of staff despite the large inflow of orphans. One of the care workers in a Mosul orphanage explained the difficulties they face:
“We have a lot of children and the staff [numbers] are deficient. We don’t have a full staff and so our work continues even on weekends and holidays. We work on Saturdays and Fridays. They are always sick, always, from the moment they came to us they were sick, the situation is worsening.”
Many of the orphans in this orphanage are the abandoned children of ISIS fathers and mothers. One girl by the name of Farah, was abandoned after her mother became a suicide bomber. She was left alone with no one to look after her.
Despite the bleak picture, there are hopes that the liberation of Mosul will spurn the local and international community to focus on and support these abandoned children.