Displaced members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority group are being forced to live in abandoned buildings due to overcrowded refugee camps, reports Quartz.
“Living in the concrete skeletons of unfinished structures and shielded from the rain by little more than a patchwork of tarps, countless families from this embattled ethnic minority struggle daily for access to clean water and basic services,” notes the report on the Yazidi refugees.
“In Sharya, Iraq, where a refugee camp of 17,000 is filled to capacity, displaced Yazidi families can be found living throughout the ruined town, occupying everything from handmade structures to a large school building that was never completed,” it adds. “At least 500 people now live in the school, whose owner is rumored to have fled to Europe.”
Members of the religious minority group, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, were forced out of their homes when the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) seized Iraq’s Sinjar region in 2014, the ancestral home of the Yazidis, brutally killing, abducting, and raping the inhabitants.
Thousands of young Yazidi women have been forced into sexual slavery. ISIS has since been forced out of much of the Sinjar area, but they still pose a threat, Breitbart News learned from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and some Yazidi activists.
Moreover, the area’s infrastructure has been devastated by heavy bombings from the U.S.-led coalition that targeted ISIS in the area, rendering the region uninhabitable.
Most Yazidis are unable to return to their homeland. The KRG blames the security conditions, while some Yazidis accuse the KRG of not allowing much needed supplies, like food, water, and fuel, to enter the city.
“Now, faced with closing migration routes to Europe and no place to go, the Middle East’s most vulnerable people have turned to squatting as a means for survival in a country where many feel they can no longer trust their neighbors,” reports Quartz.
Many Yazidi kids are reportedly denied access to schools.
“At this moment there’s no way Yazidis can go back to their homeland, although it’s been liberated,” Khalid Sulaiman Haider, a Yazidi activist originally from the Iraqi border district of Sinjar, told Breitbart News last week.
“Sinjar’s infrastructure has been decimated, leveled to the ground,” added Haider, who now lives in the United States because of threats against him in Sinjar.
He went on to say that ISIS jihadists “have all these checkpoints and observation points. Although the Sinjar city has been liberated, ISIS still poses a threat.”
ISIS captured Sinjar in August 2014, prompting the displacement of nearly 400,000 people to other areas in Iraq, including Kurdistan.