A FORMER Ballarat journalist is working in Iraq, providing relief in the war-torn country.
Evan Schuurman has split his time between Iraq and Jordan over the past month working for non-governmental organisation Save The Children.
“We’re seeing a lot of distressed families, people who have fled their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs and with the battle lines changing every day, many have had to flee again and again,” he said.
“Many of those who have fled are staying in schools, mosques or churches, or in abandoned or unfinished buildings.”
"With the battle lines changing every day, many have had to flee again and again"
The organisation is an aid and development agency dedicated to helping children in Australia and abroad.
The organisation has provided water, hygiene and sleep kits as well as specialised playgroups for children.
“Save the Children has been working in Iraq for 23 years and was already supporting many of the 230,000 Syrian refugees in the country when the fighting erupted,” Mr Schuurman said.
“It’s certainly a long way from Ballarat, but a lot of the skills and experiences I gained working as a journalist at The Courier, I’m using in the field here.
“My role as a media manager is to make sure the world knows what is happening here on the ground in Iraq.
“This is a massive and rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis that needs the full support of the international community.”
An estimated 1.45 million Iraqis have fled their homes in the past year, with more than 2000 schools occupied by displaced families.
Mr Schuurman was previously deployed in the Philippines following the Typhoon Haiyan disaster last year.