(MCC Photo/Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

Fourteen-year-old Yusuf Yahiat carries a food package distributed by MCC partner Zakho Small Villages Project at the Garmawa Camp for displaced people in northern Iraq. Like most people living in the camp, Yusuf and his family fled the city of Mosul after its takeover by the militant group that now calls itself Islamic State.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and its partner organizations continue to meet needs of families displaced by conflict in Iraq with a mid-July distribution of locally purchased food and personal hygiene items.

Supplies in Garmawa Camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq were running low when MCC and partner Zakho Small Villages Project arrived with food packages in two large trucks.

The packages of rice, lentils, oil and other cooking staples, plus basic personal hygiene items such as soap, were given to more than 230 families living in the camp. They had been driven from the city of Mosul by the militant group that now calls itself Islamic State.

James Fine of MCC Iraq said, “People were particularly pleased that the packages included tea and sugar, essential in Iraqis’ estimation to a decent life, even if for now it has to be in a camp.”

Almost all the recipient families are members of the Turkoman and Shabak minority groups, said Fine, who has served with MCC in Iraq along with his spouse, Deborah Fine, for four years. They are from Bristol, Pa.

In June, MCC and another partner in Iraq, Al Amal, distributed food and other vital items to internally displaced persons (IDPs) living with family members and friends in a nearby province. Most IDPs in northern Iraq are with host families, but camps like Garmawa, which was established by the United Nations, are beginning to be set up.

Fine, who was present at the July 17 distribution with another MCC worker in the region, Ryan Rodrick Beiler of Washington, D.C., said the people in Garmawa Camp fled their homes with “either the clothes on their back or at best with what they could fit in the trunks of their cars.”

“Despite their misfortune, many were both cheerful and philosophic about their situation,” Fine said. “But more than anything else, they expressed a deep uncertainty about what the future might hold for them and for Iraq.”