In besieged Fallujah, suicide seen as the only way out of a humanitarian crisis

With food reserves used up and nowhere to farm, Al Azarak's civilians are waiting for help that may not come With food reserves used up and nowhere to farm, Al Azarak's civilians are waiting for help that may not come © Nuba Reports/IRIN

7 April 2016
A desperate woman killed her two children and herself after the Islamic State executed her husband, while the humanitarian crisis has left people in Fallujah facing starvation.   

Jameela al-Jassim, a 26-year-old woman, killed herself and her two young children in an act of desperation last month in Fallujah, Iraq. The humanitarian crisis in the city, which is controlled by the Islamic State and surrounded by Iraqi security forces, has prevented food and medical services from entering the city and people from getting out.

A relative of al-Jassim explained that the shelling had displaced her and her children, leaving her with few options. “She felt lost after her husband had been killed [by the Islamic State], and she was no longer able to feed her kids”. Out of desperation she roped herself and her two children to a rock, which she pushed into a Fallujah river.

This was not the first suicide in the city. Sadoun Ubaid, the exiled mayor of Fallujah, said that there have been at least 10 other suicides since Iraqi security forces and allied militias surrounded the city three months ago. “Death is threatening the people of Fallujah because of the shortage of food and medicine,” said Ubaid.

After al-Jassim’s death, pleas for help have spread across Iraqi social media, including a video of an unidentified woman referring to al-Jassim’s suicide. “We are dying of hunger and oppression. Our kids are falling sick and dying. Some people prefer to throw their kids in the river and commit suicide in order to escape from the suffering and humiliation,” she said.

The United Nations has no access to Fallujah, and Human Rights Watch said that people were eating soup made from grass. Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said that the price of basic foodstuff has dramatically increased, and most of the food available had already expired.


To read more, visit:

https://www.irinnews.org/feature/2016/04/07/three-deaths-fallujah
http://www.unocha.org/aggregator/categories/2
https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/04/07/iraq-fallujah-siege-starving-population

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