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Even before ISIS began to make significant advances in Iraq in 2014, a decade of war and conflict had left their mark on the country. Over and above physical destruction, this took the shape of wave after wave of population displacement – as millions of people became refugees in their own country. Since August 2014, the ISIS advance brought regions containing a variety of ethnic and religious minorities under the control of the terror group. According to UN estimates in July 2016, 3.3 million people have been displaced internally in Iraq during the two and a half years since the rise of ISIS. The region of Iraqi Kurdistan presently provides shelter for around 2 million of these displaced people. As well as minority groups such as Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen, Muslims have also been severely affected.

As a consequence of these developments, Malteser International expanded its emergency relief for refugees and displaced people in the Middle East, particularly in Iraqi Kurdistan, in August 2014. We work together with local partners in the regions of Erbil and Dohouk to provide medical aid for displaced people in refugee camps and with mobile medical teams. Malteser International had previously worked in cooperation with an Iraqi partner for ten years to provide medical equipment and medication to a health center at Karamless, near Mosul. When the location in the Nineveh region was captured by ISIS on 6th August 2014, all activities there were forced to cease.

Malteser International Locations: Dohouk, Erbil


Stefanie Heil
Email: stefanie.heil(at)malteser-international.org


Interview with our country representative in Iraq on the liberation of Mosul

After three years under the control of the self-described “Islamic State" (IS), the city of Mosul has been liberated. However, according to Malteser International's country representative in Iraq, Stefan Jansen, there is still much work to be done in bringing help to the people of the devastated city.

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Zahra’s Story

I had just got ready for work when my mother told me we had to run. I had to change – take off my makeup and put on discreet clothes so that I wouldn’t stand out. Then we went...” Zahra is Malteser International's pharmacist at the Bersevi II refugee camp in Kurdistan, and a refugee herself. Read her story here!

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The road to a better future

Our work in pictures

Seeds of hope: Fatima's story

Health education in Northern Iraq (GIZ Film)

Support our work in the Middle East!
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