When Hadil arrived at the border between Greece and Macedonia, she was four months pregnant and in so much pain she could not walk anymore.
But there was one small piece of good news. Unlike most migrants moving between the two countries, Hadil and her family did not have to wait long to cross the border.
Seeing Hadil’s pain, a Red Cross doctor and paramedic quickly took her, her husband Haidar and their two young children to the nearest hospital. Hadil was treated and given medication.
The family come from Iraq. They used to have a comfortable life there – but then things changed.
Haidar says: “I did not have any other option than to flee Iraq. I would have preferred not to have come. Iraq is my home country, where my language is spoken. It has been my whole life so far.”
Years of lethal violence have killed thousands of Iraqis and forced millions to leave home in search of safety. Families have been scattered across the country, often sleeping in unfinished or abandoned buildings.
Almost 8 million people in Iraq can’t get proper health care, and millions need food and basic items such as blankets. The Red Cross is giving this support around the country.
“I’ve never felt so lonely”
The Abed family’s journey has not been easy. They survived a perilous trip from Izmir, in Turkey, towards the Greek islands. The boat was overcrowded, carrying more than double the number of people it was designed for. They are not sure where they will end up.
Until they reached the Red Cross, the family felt they were treated like animals and shown no respect. “I’ve never felt so lonely in my entire life,” says Hadil.
But they feel differently now. Haidar says: “I am so grateful. We feel understood and accepted here, and we have received both water and food.”
For months, Red Cross teams having been working around the clock in Macedonia – giving refugees and migrants simple but vital help.