Between 10,000 and 40,000 Yazidis, a small Iraq-based religious group, are trapped on top of a mountain in northern Iraq, surrounded by members of the Islamic State, according to a report from the Washington Post’s Loveday Morris.
In recent days, Yazidis fled the northern-Iraq town of Sinjar and surrounding communities, forced out by jihadists from the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. Now they’re besieged on top of Mount Sinjar, essentially without food or water, and already beginning to bury the dead among the mountain’s rocks (UNICEF has essentially confirmed the situation). A Yazidi member of Iraqi parliament says that 70 children have already died.
Iraq’s top UNICEF official told the Post the following: ”There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads. There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.”
The Yazidis and tens of thousands of other Iraqis were forced out of Sinjar when the Islamic State overran Kurdish military forces, known as peshmerga, in the area earlier this week. The Iraqi government is apparently attempting to help but is too disorganized to do so: The Post says the government tried to drop bottled water on the mountain on Monday but the operation was largely a failure.
Nina Shea, a religious-freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, detailed the desperate plight of the Yazidis, Iraqi Christians, and other groups in a Corner post earlier today. Now, if only President Obama had created an executive-branch office specifically devoted to monitoring and addressing this kind of clear-cut, man-made humanitarian disaster.