There is no doubt that Iraq’s frequent wars in recent history have gradually taken their toll on a country in which citizens once enjoyed the luxuries of free education, good healthcare and a generally high standard of living.
The UN sanctions of 1990, combined with the Allied bombing campaign, caused untold damages which the country was unable to recover from before having to face new disasters.
With the UN figures showing more than 1.7 million civilian deaths in Iraq as a result of the sanctions, it is accepted that the economic warfare, in violation of the Geneva Convention, prevented Iraq from repairing its damaged water system. This resulted in dire health consequences and a devastating humanitarian crisis that took more civilian lives than the wars.
With the most recent Iraq war, US occupation and sectarian conflict, the damage has been overwhelming. Behind the endless violence which claimed lives each day, those trying to help save lives and improve living conditions were faced with dire realities.
Following the invasion in March 2003, Muslim Aid Iraq (MAIRQ) field office started its work in October of the same year, providing humanitarian assistance to its people, although it was officially inaugurated in May 2004.
Consolidating Muslim Aid’s long standing efforts in the country, the office was set up to continue and strengthen relief projects, alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable.
MAIRQ intervenes in many sectors, including healthcare, by providing new medical equipment, lab test instruments and medication. In July 2004, MAIRQ started sponsoring orphans under the Rainbow Family Programme that also extended support to families of orphans.
Women are amongst our priorities and special programmes have been implemented focusing on widows and female headed households, including skills training, fighting illiteracy and healthcare sessions.
Islamic seasonal programmes, such as Ramadan, Qurbani and Zakatul Fitr were amongst our most successful projects, which supported thousands of needy families across the country.
MAIRQ, with funding from UNHCR & IOM, succeeded in supporting thousands of IDP & Returnee families along with their host communities. Between October 2010 and March 2012, UNHCR funds were used for implementing minor rehabilitation of IDP shelters, such as constructing WCs with septic-tanks, re-roofing, changing broken windows, improving landscapes, providing domestic water tanks and filters, removing garbage and distributing garbage bags. Between June and September 2011, part of IOM funds were used in economic empowerment projects, which included training sessions in tailoring and embroidery and then donating the sewing machines to the participants to carry out small business projects from their homes. The other part of fund was used in illiteracy sessions and agricultural projects.