By John Irvine: Senior International Correspondent in Duhok, Iraq
A five-year-old child we met today is an orphan but doesn’t know it.
She’s called Nervine and she’s a Yazidi refugee.
In 2009, when she was a new-born baby, Al-Qaeda suicide bombers killed her father in an attack on his café in Sinjar.
When Islamic State fanatics attacked the same town earlier this month Nervine and her mother got separated as they fled. The mother died on Sinjar Mountain three days ago.
We found the girl in a school that now accommodates Yazidi refugees. This city, Duhok, is awash with lost souls, and it was the only roof they could find.
Nervine’s uncle says she has become withdrawn, and keeps asking when her mother will be joining them.
He tells her that her mother has fallen ill and has to rest elsewhere and that it may be a long time before she gets here.
I asked him if he would ever tell her the truth. He said he would, but only when she’s much older.
Nervine’s cousins try to keep her busy, playing with her and washing her hair in a basin outside the school building.
Like all the Yazidis - hounded out, killed or kidnapped by Islamic fanatics – the extended family is just living day to day.
Looking ahead, Nervine’s future appears to be homelessness, hand-outs and heartbreaking news.