Sozan and her family have lived in a plastic tent for the past two years. In the winter, the tent's roof and walls protect her and her four children from the elements, but come summer it turns into an oven.
Now with Iraq in the midst of the summer's second heatwave, temperatures are regularly topping 50 degrees Celsius, compounding the already difficult lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees like Sozan.
"You can feel it's like hell, there's no way to describe it," Sozan says. Originally from Qamishli, Syria, she and her family are now sheltering in Kawergosk refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
This is their second summer living in Iraq as refugees. While Sozan says she is more accustomed to the heat this year than last, this summer's punishingly high temperatures have been particularly difficult to cope with.
By 9.00 a.m. local time, Sozan and her children are already sweating through their clothing. One by one she takes them into the kitchen area of their tent and gives them bucket showers to help cool them off.
"This is the only thing that works," she says. "I call it a shower, but they keep [some of] their clothing on, that way it cools them more when it dries."
And the heat is only rising in Iraq. It's led to the government announcing a four-day weekend this week. But while various Iraqi politicians and officials use the break as an excuse to travel outside of Iraq, refugees are, more or less, trapped in refugee camps. Rudaw reports:
The recent wave of stifling heat and a lack of electricity has led to the deaths of at least 52 children in refugee camps in less than a week, a Baghdad official said on Friday.
“After the deaths of these children due to high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, the government is trying to provide 24-hours electricity and coolers for refugees to save them from heat waves of summer,” said Raad al-Dahlaki, head of the Iraqi parliament's Committee on Immigration and Displacement.
And the US government leads a campaign to bomb Iraq from the air and Turkey bombs northern Iraq.
And this qualifies as 'helping.'
John Kerry did have an image to worry about.
It'll be interesting to watch, in the coming years, as he tries to grapple with the many failures in Iraq and how little people care about his Iranian efforts but hold him accountable for what went wrong in Iraq.
He'll be the new Madeline Albright, with all that entails.
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