The Christian humanitarian aid organization Samaritan's Purse has no plans to leave the city of Mosul in Iraq even after the militant group ISIS is defeated.
ISIS took over the city in June 2014 displacing at least half a million people including 70,000 Christians. As the Iraqi-led coalition slowly moves into the city to liberate it from ISIS, the 1.5 million people remaining there are trying to get out as fast as they can.
Matt Nowery, the country director of Samaritan's Purse in Iraq, told Christian Today that there have been thousands of refugees over the last week.
The organization has been in the country since 2008 and it is now trying to provide the refugees of Mosul with food rations, shelter, clean water and cooking stoves. It also serves the spiritual needs of Christians, Yazidis and other people who have escaped from ISIS.
"If you could picture several kilometers of cars with military escorts, everyone with a white flag to show they're a civilian. There are dump trucks with a hundred people aboard. They are in shock," he remarked.
Many of the refugees are physically exhausted and emotionally traumatized when they arrive at the camps.
Nowery noted that ISIS split the city in half and families were not able to contact each other. The refugees end up looking in every car and dump truck for other family members.
He is concerned that the organization will not be able to meet all the needs of the refugees as their number rises to 40,000.
Nowery said that almost all of those who are fleeing now are Muslims but Samaritan's Purse serves the needy without distinction. He believes that the refugees will one day remember who helped them in their time of need.
He noted that ISIS has left the city in ruins and there is much work to be done to rebuild it.
"We have been here since the beginning and we have no plans to leave. We're going to help rebuild. We want to help provide education and health. This is a critical time and Christians are fleeing â€“ Samaritan's Purse wants to put its arm around them and remind them Jesus loves them, and figure out what we can do to help them get on their feet," he said.