- Title: Iraq's displaced celebrate New Year in song and dance
- Date: 31st December 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS OF CHILDREN DANCING WITH CLOWN AND AID WORKERS VARIOUS OF CLOWN AND AID WORKER PERFORMING A SKIT / CHILDREN WATCHING AND LAUGHING VARIOUS OF CLOWNS AND AID WORKERS DANCING WITH CHILDREN CHILDREN WATCHING PERFORMANCE
- Embargoed: 15th January 2017 15:14
- Keywords: displaced Iraq children New Year's Eve celebration Hassan Sham camp Mosul
- Location: HASSAN SHAM CAMP, NEAR MOSUL, RAQ
- City: HASSAN SHAM CAMP, NEAR MOSUL, RAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0025F7QP1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:At the Hassan Sham camp for displaced Iraqis near Mosul, children sang and danced with clowns to celebrate the New Year on Saturday (December 31) as adults expressed their hope for peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Most of the residents here had fled the violence resulted from Iraqi forces' ongoing fight against Islamic State in Mosul.
Uprooted from their homes, those seeking sanctuary came here with few belongings, and supply shortages in the camp is making everyday life even more of a struggle.
As the temperature plummets and dirt roads turn to mud, residents said there weren't enough blankets and heaters to help them stay warm and dry. But some were still hopeful that the New Year would bring them stability.
"We hope that peace and prosperity will spread across the nations of the world in this New Year, and that people will live comfortably and in the midst of security. People have suffered a lot; struggle has befallen on all nations of the world, Arab countries and others. There has been pain, explosions, things that one finds hard to explain and talk about. We hope that God will protect these people, the children and the innocent, and save them from this destruction," said Abu Hakim.
Others were more sceptical.
"We are not very hopeful; we have seen too much, we should not lie to ourselves because our fate is still unknown. We left our homes after our area was liberated, and now we are stuck in the camps and in this mud, our children are all sick. I would be lying to myself and to you if I said tomorrow will be better. In Iraq, our fate is unknown," said Abu Hajir.
"We hope that we will live in peace and security, and that we will return to our homes, to our jobs. We want to live. Our children now are out of school, they are not educated. This is time wasted from their lives, some people who are about to graduate can't go to college. Our children's future is lost. We want to live in security and stability, just like the rest of the world. There is no safety in our country," said Maher Abu Mustafa.
For children in the camp, the impending New Year meant a day of laughter and dance, as clowns and aid workers entertained them with funny skits and music. Many also received gifts and clothes.
According to the United Nations, nearly 91,000 people have been registered as displaced after fleeing from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul and nearby towns and villages since the beginning of the campaign against the militants. That figure excludes thousands more forced back into Mosul by retreating militants.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said about 70 percent of the newly displaced people in Iraq were living in camps.
Thousands of others have holed themselves up where they can.
The United Nations said the number of people fleeing is expected to rise, and they're increasing efforts to distribute winter supplies before temperatures drop even further.
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