Yazidi Children Die in Accidental Tent Fire

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October 21, 2014
Dohuk, Iraq

Yazidi refugee Saido was able to save his family from certain death at the hands of ISIS by fleeing Sinjar and taking them to Khaneq refugee camp in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan. However it was here in supposed safety that tragedy struck. When Saido and his wife left his brother’s tent, where they had been spending the evening, they saw their own tent on fire. By the time they got close enough there was nothing they could do but watch as their children burned to death. His three children Sima, Saman, Sebar, aged 4, 7, and 2 respectively, perished in the accidental tent fire caused by a burning candle. The bereaved father is left with just two children, one of whom is partially paralyzed and suffers from epilepsy.

Transcription:

Zahra, mother (Woman, Kurdish):

(00:56) "Sima was as old as this one [she points at a child] and Saman was as old as this one. This child is 10 months older than Sebar. I wish I died instead of them." (01:20)

Seido Shenkali, father (Man, Arabic):

(02:45) Our children were sleeping here [the same position in the other tent] with my mother and father sitting next to them. Then my wife suggested that we all go to my neighbor's tent, so we went and we left them sleeping in the tent right in front of where we were. After a while, my wife told me that we should return to the tent because it was windy and raining and the children were sleeping. So I left my neighbor's tent and walked out to find the children's tent on fire and I started screaming. I had three children, Saman, Sima, and Sebar, when we went to save them they were dead." (03:59)

(04:04) "I ask for any person who is able to help me, to do so. I do not have anything anymore. My children died, all I have left is this child who is sick and epileptic. I ask for all the officials to see my situation. I only have this boy and this girl. The boy is sick, his medications are very expensive, and i cannot get them from any governmental institution." (04:42)

(04:46) "I tried to save them from ISIS, it is all because of them. I tried to save them and brought them here, but they burned to death." (04:42)

Khedr Shenkali, uncle, (Man, Arabic):

(05:21) "There was a lit candle, and their parents were in the other tent, the tent burnt and they died." (05:38)