Displaced Iraqis struggle in dusty tent city

As the summer heats up, residents at the Baharka camp in Erbil face shortages of water and electricity.

| | Humanitarian crises, War & Conflict, Middle East, Iraq

Baharka camp, Erbil, Iraq - After the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stormed the northern city of Mosul a year ago, thousands of displaced residents found shelter at the Baharka camp in Iraq's Kurdish region.

Today, acting camp manager Hakair Ismail says there are more than 3,700 people living in Baharka's dusty tent city, and more are expected to arrive in the coming months as the war against ISIL drags on. It has become a challenge for the camp's management to provide residents with sufficient water, electricity and air coolers, and as the summer heats up, many say life in the camp has become extremely difficult.

"The situation is bad. The kids are dirty, there's a shortage of water. My six-year-old is always scared; if there's any sound, he runs for a hug," Amira Ali, who lives in the camp with her husband and their five children, told Al Jazeera. "We want Iraq to be peaceful and safe again… We want to go back to our families, our homes, our lives."

Rakan Mohammed, a former Mosul police officer, said the biggest problem for camp residents is the stifling heat inside the tents. But whatever the situation is in Baharka, he noted, it is infinitely better that what they left behind.

"Even if Mosul became free tomorrow, we wouldn't go back, because we still don't know what's coming," he told Al Jazeera. "We don’t know how the situation will change."

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