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  Find out about people's lives in north Iraq
Updated 10 April 2003, 17.17
Life is difficult for kids in Iraq at the moment
The lives of children in Iraq are very difficult at the moment.

The Save The Children charity has people working in northern Iraq.

We spoke to the charity's Brendan Paddy who's in a city called Irbil to find out how the war is affecting families there.


Describe the area where you are
The city of Irbil where I am staying is very old, but most the buildings are new and made of concrete. The people here are not Arabs like those in the rest of Iraq and they have their own language, clothes, music and stories.

The Kurdish people have been very badly treated by the government in Baghdad and want to see it changed.

In the last 12 years they have also suffered a lot because the US and the UK have supported an international ban on Iraq buying and selling things overseas.

Are children in northern Iraq affected by the war?
Everyone in Iraq is affected by the war.

When I asked one man if the children were affected he joked that even the cats and dogs were affected!

Irbil, Iraq
In many families the parents now have no work so they struggle to buy clothes and food for their children.

Is there fighting where you are?
The nearest fighting is about 20 miles away - between the cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.

Sometimes when the American planes drop a really big bomb the windows here shake like there is a huge lorry going past.

What type of work is Save the Children doing there?
Some people from Kirkuk left the city before the war started because they were afraid. They came to Northern Iraq where we are working.

Many of them had to leave most of their things at home and came with just what they could carry. Save the Children gave them blankets, clothes and fuel for cooking food.

What are the main problems for children there?
Save the Children is very worried that in the fighting some children will be separated from their families. If they are we will help children and their parents find each other again.

Some Iraqi kids haven't been in schools
Some Iraqi kids haven't been in schools
Are they still able to go to school?
All the schools are closed and many children are getting bored staying at home and not seeing their friends.

Some of the teenagers I have spoken with are very worried that they are getting behind at school and will not be ready for their exams at the end of the year.

Do children still find time to play or enjoy themselves?
They do not go outside to play much and many of them cannot see their friends because their parents are scared to let them outside.

How much do children understand what is happening throughout the rest of Iraq?

Many children have uncles, aunts and cousins in Iraq.

They used to speak to them on the telephone sometimes or even go and visit them, but since the war started they have heard nothing about what is happening to their relatives.

The only news children and their parents get now is through the radio and television.

What have kids told you about the war?
Konaw, 16 - "I am in the third year of secondary school and time is running out before my exams and I still cannot go to school. The Minister of Education called a meeting and there was a plan to reopen the schools but I don't know when this will happen. I hope it happens soon."

Skakwan, 15 - "I would like to be a car mechanic and I want Kurdistan to be like Europe with good social welfare, cars and telephones."

Ibraheem, 13, crying - "All my friends have gone away and I can't see them. I hope my friends come back to Perzeen and I see them again at school."

More InfoBORDER=0
WorldDaily Iraq updates
WorldAdvice if the war worries you
Find OutIraq crisis special section

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Kurds celebrate as important oil town 'falls'
New day in Baghdad but fighting's not over

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Web Links
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Save the Children
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