Villages south of Kirkuk were almost completely decimated by ISIS’ destructive policies and war. A common tactic used by the militant group was to employ a brutal scorched earth policy as they pull out of towns and villages. This would result in key infrastructure such as roads, bridges, hospitals and other important buildings being destroyed, so as to thwart the advance of the incoming force.
These tactics resulted in mass displacement for tens of thousands of people living in villages and towns across the northern and western regions of Iraq. The village of Qarabarood, located south of Kirkuk, has been a ghost-town ever since ISIS militants arrived in the area, destroying the roads along with all the schools and hospitals.
An overwhelming majority of the residents of the village have been displaced for nearly three years and are still reeling from their traumatic experience of ISIS rule. Those who have returned have found their homes and neighbourhoods almost totally destroyed. The people of the village say that they are without adequate food, water, electricity or shelter.
“We don’t have anything at all. We don’t have beds, heaters, or tents. Where do we go? Do we just sit in the fields? We don’t have anywhere to go,” said one resident.
Due to the destruction wrought upon the land, farmers are finding it near impossible to farm and sustain themselves. “We have over 7000 acres of land but we can’t farm a single tonne of wheat. We want aid from the government. We want them to give us wheat and fertiliser”, said one farmer.
Many towns and villages across Iraq, especially in the province of Kirkuk, are suffering from the same problems, and as a result, millions of people in the country lack the most basic essentials to live. This is more essential than ever, especially as the government’s most immediate focus is rebuilding parts of the country destroyed by the group.