SYRIZA MP Nantia Valavani in a mission at Kobani
When ISIS begun to attack Kobani on September 29, 200,000 civilians left the town and the villages close to it and crossed the borders with Turkey through suffering and major losses. Half of them went deeper inside Turkey and the other half stayed close to the borders, hoping, like the mother of the dead young man, that the army of "Caliphate" would be defeated so they could return to their country.
During the two days we stayed across the Kobani, we visited the two camps of AFAD (national service of civil protection), where close to 7,000 refugees are staying, as well as, a camp of the city hall called "Arin Mirkan" - after the name of the female Kurdish fighter who killed on the other side - hosting 4,000 refugees. Currently, the city hall is responsible for the rest 90,000 staying in camps built by the local authorities - and host 20,000 people - and in various houses inside the town and the villages, like the one we stayed at night. Both the AFAD commander and the local state governor told us that the target of AFAD is to host - with the help of Red Crescent as the only international organization active in the area - totally 30,000 refugees in one month as this is the limit of their capabilities. Red Crescent will then need to secure 90,000 rations of food every day, which under current circumstances, without foreign help, is beyond its power. But even then, the Suruc municipality will have the responsibility for the survival of 70,000 people, most of them children: We never saw, until now, so many children of all ages gathered in governmental and municipal camps.
We had a discussion with HDP MPs, as well with the other members of the mission of the European Left party - the first day they arrived at Diyarbakır and the next morning at the offices of their party which were similar to that of a social organization: Apart from the crowd gathered outside the door, dozens of people of all ages and races were waiting patiently as they flooded the stairs and the corridors of the three-floor building, while inside the rooms, dozens of young men and women were writing documents in PCs, or had short meetings. We had also a conversation with Suruc's mayor - a serious young woman who obviously had not the luxury to stay in bed to recover from the flu.
The head of the medical organization - with dozens of doctors and nurses working voluntarily - at the municipal camps, participated in these conversations. A doctor himself at the local hospital, which was built to service 30,000 patients, the population of the area at that time, he is called now to take care of 200,000 people, which is impossible. Therefore, they work inevitably under priorities: First, the Kobani fighters, taking care of 900 injured during the 40 days of battles. Driving the ambulances of all the municipalities of the area which are transferred to Suruc, they go to the other side to collect the injured, as we witnessed the day of our departure.
On October 28, afternoon, there was a funeral of five male and female fighters at Suruc cemetery and the ceremony was transformed into a protest by thousands of people. Although the burial is done using a shroud in this area, the five fighters, as well as others who died previously in the hospital, were buried in coffins with the seal of the municipality of Diyarbakır, so that to take them back to Kobani after the final victory.
Second priority for medical treatment are the children. How about the rest? Suruc's Kaymakam delivered to us a long list of medicines and another one of food products, both at enormous quantities, made for those international organizations that are interested to help. During the meeting with HDP MPs and doctor at Suruc town hall, when I gave them this list to see it, they told us that it's not complete and these quantities are not enough. They asked for more: Thousands of containers to host families who live in tents. AFAD's tents as well as the rest supplied by the government or collected from other municipalities of South-East Turkey, settled roughly, to shelter the "flood" of refugees during October, are plastic, unsuitable for heavy rains and cold winters.
Kaymakam requested 8,000 heaters, but they do not help much with the tents flooding inside a lake of mud, as will happen everywhere during the first rain. Containers should also be able to shelter schools and thousands of children as well as hospitals inside the camps. They need also nearly 20 more ambulances because the ones they have are heavily treated - there are even holes from gunshots on them - and are not enough.
Source and pictures:
Part I here: