Over the past six months, nearly two million Iraqis have been forced to leave their homes as they flee tribal violence and ISIS advances.
Kamil Abdulahad: The retired tanner says that besides his family, the one thing he could not leave behind as ISIS militants advanced on his home were his military service records. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
In those hasty last moments, there's no time to thougtfully pack a suitcase and get your house in order. In most cases, these refugees could grab only a few small items, which grow heavy with nostalgia the longer these people are displaced from their homes.
Anwar Nassir: The drum maker said he had to leave most of the musical instruments he handcrafts behind when ISIS militants advanced on his town; after he ensured his family had safely departed, he was left with just a small motorbike to carry his belongings, including one handmade instrument. "They can take whatever they want, but I pray that they will have left my instruments," he said. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
After speaking with Iraqi Christians at a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq, photographer Matt Cardy created portraits of his subjects with the items they hold most dear. Many had less than an hour to pack before running, and while the refugees have found some semblance of safety in hastily built camps in the region, there is no guarantee they will be able to go home again. If they are lucky enough to one day return, the refugees said they fear there will be nothing left to greet them.
Below, moving portraits of the refugees and their cherished possessions.
Name unknown: A rosary was most important to this widowed housewife from Qaraqosh. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Anas Khaleel: The student and tiler said he grabbed his Samsung smartphone before fleeing Qaraqosh. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Annosa Ishaac: The nurse brought her passport. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Khidhir Badry: The tractor driver left with his picture of Jesus and Mary. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Fatin Atheer: The 6-year-old schoolgirl left her home with nothing but the clothes she was wearing. But, she asked her father every day for a replacement junior laptop like the one she was forced to leave behind. In December, her dad managed to find the same model for sale in a market in Erbil and purchased it for her. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Najeeb Mansoor: The blacksmith remembered to grab his identity papers. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Shony Franso: The housewife from Qaraqosh brought her jewelry. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Rafo Polis: The retired teacher said besides his family, he brought nothing but his faith — his most treasured possession. | (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)