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[Iraq] PWJ’s Assistance for Newly Arrived Syrian Refugees in Gawilan Syrian Refugee Camp in Northern Iraq

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Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) has been responding to the new influx of Syrian refugees since October 14th.

After October 26th, the refugees were directed to Gawilan refugee camp as Bardarash refugee camp reached close to maximum capacity. Prior to the new influx, around 8,000 Syrian refugees were residing in Gawilan Camp. A new area was designated to accept the new arrivals and PWJ, as an implementing partner of UNHCR, has been working on site preparations and tent settings. 2,673 tents in Bardarash refugee camp and 438 tents in Gawilan refugee camp have already been installed by PWJ.

Tent transfers are currently on-going as some earlier installed tents were set directly on the ground. Families living in these tents are transferring to tents with newly installed concrete bases.

We talked with a family waiting for their tent transfer.

“I arrived here about three weeks ago from Qamishli, Syria as the safety of the children is our priority. I can’t decide what to do and where to go from now because I don’t know how the situation in Syria will change. At least my children are healthy and cheerful even in this difficult situation. This helps me feel better.”

Meanwhile, older sectors of Gawilan refugee camp look like a small town with shelters upgraded with concrete blocks.

New refugees are frequenting the older sectors to use facilities such as toilets, showers, kitchens, etc. and to take rest in warmer shelter. Thankfully, residents in the older sectors have been accepting them willingly and warmly.

We met two young men chatting in the older sector.

“I have lived here since for three years. The newly arrived people are just like our family and we are very happy to help them. Whenever the buses arrive, I always go there and try to find anyone I know. He is an old friend of mine – I found him when he arrived.”

PWJ is grateful for the warm mutual support among refugees. This motivates us to continue and expand our efforts.

Please support Peace Winds Japan’s activities in Iraq and around the world by sharing this report via social media and by donating through this link: https://peace-winds.org/en/donate.html. Each contribution is a brick in rebuilding people’s lives.