While taking refuge on Mount Sinjar from Islamic State militants, Iraqi parents are cutting themselves so their children can drink their blood to stay alive.
Nearly 30,000 members of the Yazidi community have been trapped by jihadi fighters, the Daily Mail reports. About 8,000 people have escaped down the mountain to safety at a camp in Dohuk Province in Kurdistan.
“One man has just told us how he saw four children die of thirst,” Sky News reporter Sherine Tadros, who is at one of the camps, said. “There was nowhere to bury them on the mountain so they just put rocks on their bodies. Another man was saying the children were so thirsty, their parents started cutting their own hands and giving them blood to drink.”
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Some Yazidis have been forced to pay smugglers to take them across the border into Turkey, sometimes through minefields.
According to Gulf Daily News, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is delivering water, protein biscuits and hygiene kits to refugees but, with 1 million displaced families now in Iraq, the organization is struggling to cope.
The international community is starting to take action in regards to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.
The U.N. declared a “Level 3 Emergency” Wednesday to trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of those displaced, said U.N. special representative Nickolay Mladenov, pointing to the "scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe.”
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Meanwhile, around 130 U.S. solider have arrived in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil and a group of them should be going to Mount Sinjar to study the situation there.
Despite increasing calls from experienced commanders, Prime Minister David Cameron insists the U.K. will not join the U.S. in air strikes on IS targets.