Imagine THIS Was All You Had to Feed Your Children - Survival Stories From Mosul’s Old City

We’re reaching families on the edge of Mosul’s Old City right now, as heavy fighting continues just a few streets away. The stories we’re hearing about life inside ISIS’s last stronghold in Mosul… they are harrowing beyond words.

The roads around the Old City are blocked with explosives. Iraqi forces are fighting to open safe routes for civilians—but ISIS is doing everything they can to keep people from getting out alive. Snipers take aim at anyone trying to flee. On Saturday, as one group of families tried to make their way out, an ISIS suicide bomber slipped among them and detonated himself, killing at least 26.

More than 100,000 people are trapped in Mosul’s Old City—and they are terrified to leave. But life inside is unbearable.

One dad we met during a recent food distribution told us his family hadn’t eaten in five days. Many are eating grass just to survive—in the Old City, a bag of grass sells for 3,000 Iraqi dinars, the man says. An empty cardboard box sells for 500 dinars.

Why a box? our team asked the father. We were unprepared for his answer.

Families trapped in Mosul’s Old City are boiling paper boxes until soft… then feeding them to their children to keep them alive.

It’s a heartbreaking situation. No one knows how long it will take to fully liberate Mosul’s Old City. No one knows when families here will be free from this living nightmare. The battle for Mosul has taken months longer than predicted. And even though ISIS is now hemmed into one last, densely-packed neighborhood, they’re still managing to launch counterattacks on newly liberated parts of the city, as they did yesterday.

But we know this: we’re not going anywhere.

You’ve never been the kind of people who look away when the need feels overwhelming. You press into the pain. You show up on the frontlines with us, bringing lifesaving aid to terrorized families, even as bullets fly and bombs fall.

The people of Mosul need us to keep showing up for them. You’ve already provided food for 238,000 people in and around Mosul. This weekend, you fed 1,100 families on the very edge of Mosul’s Old City. But the need here is more desperate than anything we’ve seen.

So we’ll keep pressing in, further into the Old City. With lifesaving food—because NO ONE should have to feed their children cardboard to keep them alive. With clean water and medical care for families who haven’t seen a doctor in more than three years. And we’ll stay—long after the cameras have moved on—providing jobs, income, and hope to help families rebuild their lives.

Join us. 


Keep showing up for desperate families in Mosul.

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About Ben Irwin

Husband, father, storyteller, children's book author, occasional marathon runner, and director of communications and PR for Preemptive Love Coalition

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Imagine THIS Was All You Had to Feed Your Children - Survival Stories From Mosul’s Old City
Imagine THIS Was All You Had to Feed Your Children - Survival Stories From Mosul’s Old City
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