Local men aiding refugees in Iraq

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Phiez Solomon, Sean Moore and Jeff Bultje are preparing for a humanitarian trip to northern Iraq to help refugees fleeing ISIS.
Phiez Solomon, Sean Moore and Jeff Bultje are preparing for a humanitarian trip to northern Iraq to help refugees fleeing ISIS.

Unhappy with delays and politicization of humanitarian aid, three men are headed to Iraq next month to provide aid to a town full of refugees from the Islamic terrorist group ISIS.

Sean Moore and Phiez Solomon will be returning to the war-ravaged town of Duhok Seje in the region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq and this time they will be joined by Jeff Bultje, making his first trip there.

Moore was in Iraq from January to May this year, left and just returned from a further three months. Solomon, a native Iraqi, spent time with Moore.

“There is so much to do that I had to go back,” Moore said. “Phiez is committed to making things better in his homeland and Jeff has a huge heart and a sense of doing what’s right.”

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

The aim of this trip will be to provide food for some of the 13,000 refugees in the town and prepare them for winter.

“The last time I was there we spent a lot of time on sanitary issues such as septic tanks and portable toilets as well as helping with food distribution and medical assessments,” Moore said.

Solomon has a deeply personal interest in the mission since his wife and four daughters are in the town.

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“Since we are known for helping refugees, it is no longer safe for my family,” he said. “I need to find a way to get them to safety.”

He said during a recent phone call to his wife, he could hear the sounds of bombing in the background.

Bultje, a veteran of missionary work in Haiti, said he’s frustrated by a lack of government action on the refugee crisis.

“Politicians are useless right now,” he said. “They’re all concerned about the election and in the meantime people are dying of starvation. There is something wrong with our system when it allows that to happen.”

Moore said he was originally going to donate money to the refugees’ cause but became concerned at the amount that was diverted for administrative costs.

The men are seeking to raise as much money as possible before they leave and will use it to purchase supplies once they reach the Middle East.

“With Phiez’ knowledge of the area, we’re going to take the money we raise, purchase what we need in Iraq and get it directly to the people who need it,” Moore said.

“We’re paying for our own flights so every dollar we raise will be used to buy food, milk, kerosene and building supplies,” Bultje said. “We don’t have one cent of administration.”

Bultje said while the first goal will be to prevent starvation, the group also wants to help tarp over open doors and windows in the town.

“Winter is coming so these people need fuel for heat and some form of shelter,” he said.

Moore said the residents of the town fled when ISIS approached, leaving it virtually deserted before the arrival of refugees.

The group will be within 50 miles of ISIS-held positions, however, they’re taking the danger in stride.

“I could get in a car accident here,” Bultje said. “I don’t think there’s much difference.”

Although the three men are Christian, Moore said they’re there to help everyone.

“It’s what we’re supposed to do,” Bultje said.

Anyone who wants to donate can contact Bultje at 519-

380-5497.

“The people of Chatham-Kent have always responded to the needs of others,” Bultje said.

Videos of the last trip to Iraq can be seen on Moore’s YouTube channel sean12986. Donations can also be made through Moore’s PayPal.com account under urokimok2@msn.com and a gofundme account under gofundme.com/crisisinkurdistan.

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