Hollywood actress and humanitarian Angeline Jolie visited a refugee camp in Iraq’s West Mosul over the Eid al-Fitr weekend. She spoke of the “worst devastation” she has seen during her work with UNHCR, which totals 61 different missions (including five in Iraq).
West Mosul was held by ISIS for three years before it was re-taken by Iraqi forces, and Jolie’s visit comes as the UN Refugee Agency tries to help families return to their home.
“People here have lost everything: their homes are destroyed. They are destitute. They have no medicine for their children, and many have no running water or basic services,” she said, speaking in front of the ruins of al-Nuri Mosque.
She added: “We often tend to assume, as an international community, that when the fighting is over, the work is done. But the conditions I observed here in West Mosul are appalling. Displacement is still happening. The camps near the city are still full. Whole areas of West Mosul remain flattened. Enabling people to return and stabilizing the city is essential for the future stability of Iraq and the region.”
During her visit Jolie, who is a mother of six children, met displaced families to discuss their needs, and walked through streets of destroyed buildings.
“It is deeply upsetting that people who have endured unparalleled brutality have so little as they try, somehow, to rebuild the lives they once had,” she commented.