Civilians in Baghdad Prepare for the Worst


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June 15, 2014
Baghdad, Iraq

Ordinary people in Baghdad prepare for the worst and rush to buy groceries and pharmaceuticals, causing prices to rise. ISIL has threatened to march on Baghdad as they expand their area of control in Iraq and this has sent Baghdad into a panic.

Shots for the video include:
• Different shots of people shopping at the food store • 1 shot of people standing in the pharmacy • Different shots of bakery workers • Different shots of a grocery store

-Ahmed 42 years old getting some food -Ahmed Hassan 65 years old, Pharmacist -Abu Laith 55 years old (owner of the bakery) -Citizen giving his opinion


Ahmed 42 buying food:
“In the meantime, things are a bit hard after ISIL, or as we say the “unwanted people” entered Mosul, so people are afraid especially with Ramadan coming up. Now we have two factors, Ramadan and the current situation, so the whole market has changed, the price of the food had increased and the price of vegetables had increased, so people are just afraid”.

What are the precautions that you are intending to take?

“Preparing the house with gas and the cars with fuel, and since the situation is not good, we need to prepare everything in the house, such as food, dry food. We pray that nothing bad happens but we still have to prepare. There is an increase in prices, especially in the price of flour, which increased from 25 to 35 Syrian Pounds. So there is an increase in prices, which also applies to sugar and margarine.”

Ahmed Hassan pharmacist 65:
“Concerning the situation in Baghdad, of course when people watch the news and TV channels, they will develop a reaction, and they will become careful, and we are a part of those people who live in Baghdad, Palestine Street. People come and buy things, and in my case, as a pharmacist, people come to buy medications that they use constantly. We try to provide all the medications they need and we try not to be similar to who we call the “war merchants” who increase the prices. We do not increase the prices because it is wrong, and ethically forbidden.”

Do you have people coming in to buy first aid kits?

Ahmed Hassan:
“Yes the number of people who come in to buy first-aid kits has increased from what it was before.”

Did you take any precautions concerning the increased demand for medications?

Ahmed Hassan:
“Yes I have taken precautions a few days earlier and I have spread the word that who ever needs any medication can come and knock on our door and we will try and provide them with the medication they need. My pharmacy is open and stays so until midnight.”

Do you have any workers who stay in the pharmacy late at night in case some one needs help at 3 or 4 in the morning?

Ahmed Hassan
“Well I always say that if I leave the pharmacy they can always knock on the main door because the pharmacy is a part of my house, so they can always knock on the door and I will give them the medications they need. I also hand out phone numbers sometimes, that is all I can do.”

Abu Laith, 55
“My relatives bought this place but I think it is unnecessary, because nothing will happen and if anything does happen it will not stay for long, we know these situations by now, we live our entire lives is in this type of situation.”

Do you have any children?

Abu Laith:
“I have four children.”

What did you prepare for them in terms of food, is there an increase in prices, and how is the situation?

Abu Laith:
There is a bit of an increase in prices, but the issue is that people are stressed and afraid.”

“The situation here is the same, there is nothing, the situation is safe, see for yourself. In the afternoon, it gets a bit crowded to buy bread, and that is a situation that already exists in Iraq. The situation is safe and stable. There is not a crisis, the crowds you see waiting to get bread are always the same and even if a crisis occurs it will stay the same, people have taken precautions and the people of the area are cooperative and helpful.”