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Day One: Arriving at an IDP camp in northern Iraq

Last Updated Jul 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm EST

Children carry water at a UNHCR camp in northern Iraq. May 2017. CITYNEWS/Avery Haines

I spent the day at one of the many Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps that dot the landscape in northern Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee their homes because of ISIS.

This woman and her child escaped days ago. They have gone for too long without food and her baby is severely malnourished.

Two volunteer doctors and an interpreter just spent the day treating almost 80 patients. I’m here with the NGO ADRA, and will later travel as close as I can get to the front line in West Mosul, Iraq.

Today, I saw:

  • Two young boys who are hemophiliacs in desperate need of Factor 8 (a life-saving blood-clotting protein). There is none.
  • A man with a bullet lodged in his knee — wearing the same pants he was shot in.
  • An elderly woman who’s feet were ravaged by days of walking carrying her granddaughter to get her to safety.


A nurse at another treatment faculty told us that she is swamped with patients who have been butchered by ISIS “doctors” at the hospital in Mosul. They were given medication to paralyze their entire bodies, were then operated on – usually amputations – but given no anesthetic. They felt everything.

We think we found a way to get this baby to a hospital. Without immediate care she will die. Her mum couldn’t stop kissing my cheeks and thanking us. That video can be seen here.

And when I walked through the camp, within minutes, I was invited into a tent to eat and have tea.

That video can be seen below. Further updates from my time in Iraq will be posted here.

Two Kilometres to Terror: Life and Death Under ISIS, a one-hour documentary from reporter Avery Haines, airs Sunday July 9 at 10 p.m. on CityNews stations across the country.