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Photographs copyright © Carlos Reyes-Manzo

The people of Iraq
October 2002

In October 2002 I was invited to be part of a Caritas Internationalis humanitarian delegation to witness the suffering of the people of Iraq.

This is the story of the people I met in Iraq at that particular moment in their lives. They had already suffered 12 years of UN sanctins and they knew that preparations for the war were under way.

In Baghdad I walked with the children and spoke to the people, I was welcomed into their homes. Dr Usama invited me to visit the Alkindi Hospital, where faces, eyes and bodies spoke of years of suffering from the sanctions. I saw mothers with their children who were slowly dying from lack of food and medicines.

In the Iman Ali Shrine in Al Najaf people were praying for peace. The water treatment plant cannot purify enough water for the city of Al Najaf and children and elderly people were dying from drinking contaminated water.

In Karakosh mothers and children arrived early to the Caritas medical centre. In the evening in Karakosh Old Town at the Catholic Chaldean Church a couple were married with much hope for the future and children ran after the wedding car throwing confetti.

CAFOD, a member of Caritas Internationalis, is working through Caritas Iraq to help alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Woman walking towards water purification plant crippled by 11 years of sanctions, Al Najaf   Al Ameriya shelter bombed by US laser guided missile in Feb 1991, 300 children and 100 women were killed   Al Najaf city
Salwa Marzen and her baby Athraa Saleh 40 days old, Caritas in Qaraqosh   Marwa Yousif 5 from family assisted by Caritas in Qaraqosh Old Town   Tania Al Gameel 35 with 5 of her 7 children, Qaraqosh
Mother and daughter asking for assistance in the street, Baghdad   Woman arriving by ambulance to Alkindi Hospital in Baghdad   Patient looking at x rays of her lungs at Alkindi Hospital in Baghdad
Tariq Ferage 57 and his wife Nidhal Toma 43 with 4 of their 10 children, Baghdad   Kherher Falah 4 and his mother Fadoi Ablahad at Caritas in Qaraqosh   Grandmother and grandaughters in Qaraqosh Old Town
Caritas Medical Centre in Nineveh   Shopping centre in Baghdad   Wedding of Caritas member of staff, Qaraqosh Old Town