UK & World News
'Parents Giving Thirsty Children Blood To Drink'
Parents cutting themselves so that thirsty children can drink their blood. Others dying from dehydration and being buried under rocks. These are some of the horrifying stories emerging from those who were trapped on a mountain by Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq.
Some 6,000 to 8,000 refugees have managed to escape to a makeshift camp in Dohuk province - but up to 30,000 still remain on Mount Sinjar in what a British aid worker has told Sky news is a "heartbreaking humanitarian crisis".
Sky's Sherine Tadros is at the Zakho camp, which has no electricity and just three or four toilets.
"They've told us harrowing stories," she said. "One man has just told us how he saw four children die of thirst. There was nowhere to bury them on the mountain so they just put rocks on their bodies.
"Another man was saying the children were so thirsty, their parents started cutting their own hands and giving them blood to drink.
"And then they make the perilous journey to these areas - sometimes 12 hours. And when they get here the conditions are pretty dire. There is no electricity, no aid agencies - this is just a makeshift camp."
Refugees in the camp - some of whom have gunshot wounds - are surviving on food and water being brought to them by locals.
The international community is starting to take action - but the situation is now unprecedented, according to an aid worker on the ground.
"There is still a big humanitarian crisis going on - what I saw was heartbreaking," British Kurd Taban Shoresh told Sky News.
"We need to do something to rescue those people - 30,000 people trapped on a mountain by IS in fear of extermination. There is no way out - the only way to get to them is by helicopter.
"They've got absolutely nothing, and I can't stress this enough. No food, no water. They're dehydrated. They've got no clothes, their shoes have been worn off. It is extremely hot and exposed to the sun.
"This is the first time in history where 30,000 people have been trapped on a mountain in fear of being killed - all the leaders need to come together and figure out the best way to rescue these people. We can't watch 30,000 people die."
Each helicopter sent with aid or to lift the most vulnerable prompts a "scramble".
"They are fighting to get on the helicopters and survive - it's their only way out," added Ms Shoresh.
The local mayor has donated 230 tents, Tadros said - but it is sparse shelter for the thousands lucky enough to escape Sinjar.
UNICEF is delivering water, protein biscuits and hygiene kits to refugees but, with one million people now displaced in Iraq, the organisation is struggling to cope.
Colin MacInnes, in Iraq, told Sky News: "We are doing all we can but it is not enough at this time."