There's normally a population of about 600,000 here, but many people have fled to the mountains. They are afraid of being hit by bombs, as well as being arrested by Saddam's forces and used as human shields. And they are afraid of the Turks.
At the moment, we still have electricity, water and access to TV, but the normal phone lines have been cut, and we don't know by who. The worry is that if people stay up in the mountain villages without aid from the UN, there will quickly be problems in terms of food, medicine and sanitation. At the moment it's not that bad, but if this lasts for more than two weeks, serious problems will start. The weather is not helping – it's very cold up there.
My two sons are afraid, and just keep asking when Saddam is coming to get us. We have packed up all our things and put them in our vehicle. If we need to, we can just turn on the engine and go. My family and I have agreed on a safe place to meet if we get separated.
We have a small room upstairs which I have filled with supplies and sealed. We have kept water, food, biscuits, chocolate and blankets under tarpaulins in case the city is hit by chemical weapons and we need to seal ourselves in. There is no alarm here and no access to information, so even if a traditional bomb lands here it will cause mass confusion.
My aid organisation – Reach – has been working with Christian Aid to redevelop villages for the Kurds in north-eastern Iraq, but we are having to concentrate on the relief programme. It's quite a desperate situation. People would be happy to see US or British troops.Reuse content