A displaced Iraqi woman waits with her cat for transport in the village of Shaqouli, about 35km east of Mosul. She fled her home in the embattled city with her children to a camp in Arbil. Odd Andersen/AFP
Photojournalist Felipe Dana Covers Mosul, Iraq for #WorldHumanitarianDay
August 19 marks #WorldHumanitarianDay, which pays tribute to humanitarian aid workers and supports civilians affected by crises.
Brazilian photojournalist Felipe Dana’s (@felipedana) mission is to use photography to inform. “In addition to covering major news, we can’t stop looking for stories that aren’t always in the media but that need to be shared,” he says. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Felipe’s photos often capture the harsh realities of urban violence and drug abuse, and his recent work has focused on the lives of refugees and the battle of Mosul in Iraq.
“I often cover urban conflict in Rio de Janeiro, but the reality of Iraq is even more difficult,” says Felipe. “The greatest victims are the families who try to survive surrounded by war. It’s impossible not to get emotional every day working in those places. What makes me reflect the most is the ability to overcome. A lot of people have lost their homes, their families, their mothers, their children. Many are fighting for their lives in hospitals or surviving difficult conditions in refugee camps. But they continue to hope for a stop to the endless war, wishing to be able to safely return to their homes one day.”
In a sea of loss, Bashar Abdul Jabar is just one among many.
The small man in a shirt several sizes too big is standing in the parking lot of the Iraqi civil defense forces base in Mosul, hoping to retrieve the body of his son. To his right is a young man whose entire family — 11 people — was killed. To his left, a man who lost 18 relatives.
Nearby, a 4-year-old boy who lost his mother and three brothers clings silently to his father’s leg.
Abdul Jabar, a father of five, lost his son Ahmed. He was 15. When their house collapsed around them during fighting in June between Iraqi troops and ISIS, Ahmed was trapped. The rest of the family members were able to extricate themselves. Abdul Jabar couldn’t save Ahmed and had to leave him behind, while he was still alive under the rubble.
He and the other men gathered a few weeks ago at Mosul’s civil defense forces base to try to recover the bodies of relatives killed during the battle for Mosul, which ended with the city’s recapture from ISIS in July.
Mosul, Iraq, Zeid and Hodayfa Ali comfort each other after their house was destroyed during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. The Ali cousins said some of their family members were still under the rubble. Felipe Dana/AP
IRAQ. Nineveh governorate. Mosul. November 13, 2016. An Iraqi special forces fighter walks with his rifle during fighting with Islamic State militants in eastern Mosul. Iraqi forces battled waves of suicide car bombs as they attempt to advance deeper into eastern Mosul, defended by militants from the so-called Islamic State group.