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INSIDE KURDISTAN'S REFUGEE CAMPS: A REPORT FROM RESCUE TASK FORCE

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue Task Force, a nonprofit international rescue organization that started in East County, now has a team in Kurdistan/Iraq assisting the refugees there. It has been difficult even for major international media to get reports from inside this region, since many news organizations have pulled out their correspondents after the beheading of two journalists by ISIS terrorists (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Today we received this report from Gary Becks, founder and president of RTF, on the situation he and his team have found there as they work to assist religious minorities forced to flee their homes.

By Gary Becks

October 5, 2014 (Kurdistan)--Less than one mile separated us from ISIS.  It was too close for comfort, but it was where comfort was needed the most.  One of our RTF mottos is: We Go To Where Others Will Not, To Do What Others Will Not’.

In the Nineveh region of Kurdistan (Iraq) there are formal refugee camps set up in proximity to major cities to help the one million two hundred thousand displaced people.

Out here in the hinterland, though, there are tens of thousands of refugees who fled from ISIS into these countryside areas where they had connections and/or to where they feel safer than in the large metropolitan camps.

RESCUE TASK FORCE HEADS OVERSEAS TO AID IRAQI CHRISTIAN REFUGEES: $20,000 IN DONATIONS SOUGHT FOR RELIEF EFFORT

 

Photo:  At a recent rally in El Cajon, thousands of local Iraqi Christians implored America to send help for their families in Iraq fleeing genocide

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 7, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Rescue Task Force, an international aid group that started in East County, announced today that it will send a multi-national team of veteran disaster responders to help refugees displaced in Kurdistan by ISIS or Islamic State terrorists. The RTF volunteers will bring medical and dental help along with humanitarian supplies.

The group will meet up in California with leaders Gary Becks and Larry Cutting. They will travel to Erbil and then trek to northern Kurdistan.

To date, 1.2 million people have survived the initial slaughter by ISIS forces and have fled to safe havens in Erbil and Kurdistan, faced with a stark choice of fleeing, converting to Islam, or being beheaded.  Most fled with only the clothes on their backs.

RESCUE TASK FORCE MOUNTS RELIEF EFFORT FOR CHOLERA VICTIMS IN HAITI

 

November 11, 2010 (El Cajon) – Rescue Task Force, a nonprofit organization founded in El Cajon, and World Emergency Relief of Carlsbad are sending relief to victims of the cholera outbreak in Haiti. More donations are sought as the death toll rises. More than 724 people have died since the outbreak began in October, and more than 11,000 have been infected. A thousand new cases a week are being reported, according to BBC news.

EDITOR’S BLOG: ECM STORY SAVES LIVES A WORLD AWAY

 

Dear Readers,

 

August 22, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – I hope you’ll take heart from this inspiring news. After writing an article about the plight of flood victims in Afghanistan facing starvation, including women and girls at literacy schools founded by East County’s own Rescue Task Force, I received this heart-warming letter from RTF leaders Gary Becks and Andrea Stone:

“Miriam, you win the Motivating Journalism prize for the day... Probably for the next couple years! Sent your article to our board members and a number of supporters last night. Have just received a commitment to match up to $10,000 in donations …I was / am so impressed at reading your article…Thank you - you have touched many lives... and hearts.”

AFGHANISTAN “DEVASTATED” BY MONSOON FLOODS

Hundreds of thousands now face starvation as crops, soils washed away
 

Rescue Task Force seeks help to save lives of Afghan women & girls at literary schools
 

By Miriam Raftery
August 19, 2010 (San Diego) –“The same floods that are hitting Pakistan are hitting Afghanistan. It’s just horrific,” said Gary Becks, founder of Rescue Task Force, a San Diego-based nonprofit that has its roots in East County. 

 

Becks has led relief efforts in some of the worst disasters on earth including the Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, major earthquakes, and the Cedar Fire. But the scale of devastation in Afghanistan goes far beyond even those catastrophes. Threats from the Taliban make relief efforts dangerous—and with farmlands washed away, the very survival of the Hazara people is at stake.

RESCUE TASK FORCE JOINS MEXICO QUAKE RELIEF EFFORT



Sand volcanoes pose new hazards for quake survivors; thousands left homeless
 

Photos: Joe Espinoza

April 20, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Rescue Task Force (RTF), a nonprofit international relief organization founded in El Cajon and now headquartered in Carlsbad, seeks donations of tents, supplies and money to help quake survivors in Baja, Mexico including the hard-hit Cucapah Indians.  “RTF is working with our local Indian tribes to bring relief,” said Gary Beck at RTF. “Friday we will be delivering 80 long-term use tents to 80 families suddenly left homeless.”

Besides direct damage to buildings and infrastructure, the quake has caused a new and bizaare hazard.  "Thousands of sand volcanoes were errupting very hot muddy water during the earthquake in the Mexicali Valley," Patricia Robles wrote to a former colleague who teaches in Calexico.  "The erruptions reached at least six feet above the ground, don't know how deep they came from. They happened everywhere, even inside people's homes and caused a lot of panic." Photos were taken by Joe Espinoza, an eyewitness to the erruptions.

RESCUE TEAM SAVES TRIPLETS

 

January 28, 2010 -- Through the crisis and chaos in Haiti comes life – three new lives.

World Emergency Relief’s Rescue Task Force team from San Diego continues to save lives in Haiti. Darryl Hall, team leader, and the RTF team were delivering newly arrived medicines and medical supplies to a small clinic when they discovered a mother desperately holding onto her new babies. Her babies – triplets only hours old -- were fighting for their lives.

LET THERE BE LIGHT! SD'S RESCUE TASK FORCE TEAM TURNS ON POWER IN HAITI

 

January 25, 2010 (San Diego) –Rescue Task Force, the humanitarian organization established in East County that has since merged with World Emergency Relief, is now working to restore electricity in Haiti.

 
“Lack of power can cost lives,” RTF’s Andrea Stone observed.

SD RELIEF WORKERS DELIVER LIFE-SAVING CARE IN HAITI, PROVIDE EYE-WITNESS REPORTS ON TRAGEDIES & TRIUMPHS

 

 

“We do not rest much. Every minute is the difference between life and death.” – Darryl Hall, team leader, Rescue Task Force
 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2010 (San Diego) –International Relief Teams (IRT) and Rescue Task Force (RTF), two San Diego-based humanitarian organizations, were among the first to reach Haiti after the earthquake struck. Both teams have saved countless lives since their arrival, though much more help is needed.

 

Below are stories of their heroic efforts and their eyewitness accounts of one of the worst natural disasters in the western hemisphere.

2 SAN DIEGO RESCUE TEAMS HEAD TO HAITI

 

January 17, 2009 (San Diego) – Two San Diego organizations, International Relief Teams (IRT) and Rescue Task Force (RTF) are dispatching teams to aid victims of the devastating 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti last Tuesday. 

 

The situation is criticial with infrastructure destroyed including most hospitals, the major port, roadways and the palace. Hundreds of thousands are feared dead and many remain trapped in rubble, yet survivors continued to be pulled out of debris as late as today. 

WOUNDED MILITARY AIDED BY LOCAL CHARITY & SOCO GROUP


46 Back Packs for severely wounded military packed and ready to ship

 

December 6, 2009 (San Diego) -- Today, World Emergency Relief (WER) does not have to travel thousands of miles to provide for needs. Through its program, Project NOT Forgotten, WER provides backpacks to returning severely wounded military personnel. Medical care is so good today that a severely wounded serviceman (or woman!) can be in a bed here in a U.S. Military hospital in three days. However, they are often med-evaced so quickly that all of there personal belongings are left behind.

EL CAJON’S RESCUE TASK FORCE TO SEND RELIEF TEAM TO HELP WITH TSUNAMI, DONATIONS SOUGHT

 

September 30, 2009 (El Cajon)--Rescue Task Force (RTF) of El Cajon is prepared to respond to the tsunami and earthquake as part of its ongoing relief efforts in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, RTF and WER (World Emergency Relief) are wiring cash aid to a partner of many years, which has been devastated by the typhoon that claimed hundreds of lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless.  Over 50 children and workers at the orphanage that WER supports had to be evacuated by rubber raft through polluted waters, RTF reports (photo).

RESCUE TASK FORCE ISSUES URGENT PLEA TO HELP VICTIMS OF HONDURAS EARTHQUAKE; ORPHANAGE SPONSORED BY EL CAJON GROUP HAS BEEN HARD HIT

honduras-may-2009-2.jpg

May 28, 2009 (El Cajon)--Rescue Task Force (RTF) and World Emergency Relief (WER) are responding to the 7.1 earthquake that struck Honduras at 2:20 AM this morning.
“The orphanage that WER-CA sponsors has sustained heavy damage to the dormitory,” Gary Becks at Rescue Task Force informed East County Magazine.

“Thirty-six of our orphans have been moved into the office and the dining area. Jose, our local warehouseman’s home was destroyed. He, his wife and baby are the first of probably many to move into our WER warehouse.” He added, “We need help!!! This is a 9-1-1 call for help from our friends in Honduras of so many years. We are responding on faith. Please, can you help send this team?”

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