Fallujah Crisis: A Story of Second Chances

Well, that was quite a detour!

The food pictured herein this post originally rolled out of Baghdad in two big trucks, headed to displacement camps outside of Fallujah. Those trucks got stuck along a dirt road in the desert. And while our colleagues waited for help to come that night, all hell broke loose.

Our colleagues, and the food they were delivering on your behalf, got caught up between a mass exodus of ISIS fighters fleeing the Fallujah area toward the Syrian border, and coalition fighters who tried their best to bomb that ISIS convoy out of existence.

Eighty ISIS vehicles parked along side our trucks of food aid. In fact, the ISIS fighters were so close they used the stuck trucks as a convenient landmark in the desert, and were heard saying on their cell phones, "If you can see the two trucks, that’s where we are."

Our colleagues believe it was a miracle that they weren’t killed by ISIS or the coalition air strikes that took aim at them—a miracle that they returned safely to Baghdad, along with both trucks, still full of aid.

We believe it was a miracle, too. All of it.

And this is where the story becomes one of second chances.

A week after this food aid first rolled out of Baghdad, it rolled out again. This time, we took the aid to a camp much further west of Fallujah. Its remoteness means that aid rarely reaches this far. In fact, we were the first organization to bring food aid to these displaced families.

The families pictured here are living their own story of second chances.

They were first displaced from their homes in Fallujah by the battle between ISIS and Iraqi forces. They survived the journey out of Fallujah, found refuge at a camp outside the city, and waited to see what would happen next.

What happened next wasn't newfound safety or aid. In fact, further battles between ISIS and the army forced them out of their displacement camp! They were pushed ever farther west, past over-full camps, until they finally found a new place to land.

It’s not easy to get to this camp. Between bad roads, checkpoints and nighttime curfews, it’s longer than a day-trip from Baghdad. That keeps most people away.

But it didn’t keep you away.

Every family in this camp, all 1,035 of them, received a basket of food that will nourish them for at least a month. Every family was surveyed to find out what they need most. Every family was shown that even in this remote camp, they aren’t forgotten.

The food aid you provided arrived exactly where it was needed most, exactly when it was most needed.

Hard not to believe it was a miracle too. All of it.

Help us continue providing food for hard-to-reach families in the desert!

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About Erin Wilson

Communications Officer for Preemptive Love Coalition, based in Iraq. Photographer + artist, storyteller + story gatherer, peace maker + bridge builder, student + teacher, unrepentant lover of unexpected beauty.

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Fallujah Crisis: A Story of Second Chances
Fallujah Crisis: A Story of Second Chances
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