One thousand families.
Thanks to you, that’s how many families in west Mosul received a month’s worth a food on Sunday. That's somewhere between five and eight thousand people.
And yet when we left, there were still thousands more left empty-handed, swarming around our vehicles, begging for food.
The delivery itself was one of the most orderly, best organized we’ve had in Mosul. Our partners and military escorts were efficient and structured. There were two lines of people, traffic cones, and a distribution system that served ten people at a time in the safety of a courtyard.
People moved through the process swiftly as occasional sniper fire rang out on the street and attack helicopters overhead launched airstrikes at nearby neighborhoods.
The neighborhood itself wasn’t fully secured yet. Our military escorts worried that ISIS fighters might find a way onto nearby roofs, giving them a clear shot at everyone on the street below.
The sniper fire got closer as the distribution proceeded, clearly targeting our distribution. Some families left the line to go home before they received their food—unwilling to risk their lives in one way in order to save them in another. I suppose you have to weigh the hazards against your desperation to decide which risk is worth taking.
All these factors made for a tense situation—people were antsy. Many didn’t want their photos taken. They just wanted to get in, get what they needed to survive, and get home to relative safety.
And that’s what we want for them, too.
Because while the situation in west Mosul is unstable and dangerous, staying home is still the base-case scenario for them. If they are forced to leave their homes in order to find food—if they’re forced to take shelter in faraway displacement camps—it triggers a cascade of crises in their lives and in the entire community.
If they can just hold on for a little while longer, it will make the rebuilding and restoration process easier and faster. That’s why we keep going to these places—to stop these families' crisis from spiraling further out of control.
We emptied our trucks and there were still overwhelming crowds of desperate people. Moms with tears in their eyes pleaded with us to help them feed their children. They couldn’t wait any longer, they said.
You provided food for up to 8,000 people in west Mosul on Sunday. But there was another 8,000 in the same area who were still hungry. So you sent our trucks back the next day to feed another 8,000. And you’ll send them back again after that. And after that.
The crisis in west Mosul is dire. The needs are overwhelming. Please stay with the people there and give them hope that they will be able to rebuild their lives and their city in the future.
Thank you for showing up on Sunday. The only way we can keep pushing into these frontline places—first with food, water, and medical care, and then with jobs and income and everything people need to rebuild their lives—is if you go with us month after month.
Please help us provide what Mosul families need for today and for many more tomorrows.
Stay with families in Mosul and help them rebuild—by becoming a monthly sponsor.
Matt Willingham contributed to this post.