Tommy Hansen Photography

The currency is human life and suffering


The story behind

The currency is human life and suffering

Mosul/Erbil, Iraq Januari 2017
Refugee camp Khazer


Parents carry in their children, spouses support each other, everyone helps who can, there are wounded and sick people lying on the floor. The small clinic in the Khazer refugee camp between Mosul and Erbil in Northern Iraq is under great strain.


People are waiting here for the necessary authorizations for further ambulance transport to hospital. Iraqi ambulances are shuttling to and from Mosul and Kurdish ambulances are going to and from the large hospitals in Erbil.


Nobody travels alone in an ambulance, those who are able to stand they stand, others sit and only the most needy lie down. Ten or twelve people in an ambulance is not unusual.


A woman comes in with her husband, who has had a cardiac arrest. When asked how they got his heart beating, she looks up to the ceiling, stretches up her arms and says something in Arabic that includes the word “Allah”.


People lie on the concrete floor and groan, others queue for necessary documents, relatives ask for a place on the next ambulance to Erbil, more ambulances arrive from Mosul.


This is not where the wounded soldiers come. This is where a few of the civilians who have been fortunate enough to get a place on an ambulance from Mosul come.


This is where a part of the price for the war in Northern Iraq is paid. The currency is human life and suffering. Some pay it all at once here in Khazer, others pay their part of the bill for the rest of their lives.