12,000 families still need help
Since the summer of 2014 when forces of the terrorist militia the so-called “Islamic State” declared an Islamic caliphate in north-west Iraq and eastern Syria, spreading fear and horror with their bestial cruelty, some 3.3 million people were forced to flee their homes in Iraq alone – many of them from Mosul and its surrounding area.
Even before that time and since the US invasion of 2003, Mosul had become something of a hell for Christians in particular. Abductions, bomb attacks and the targeted murder of individuals had become the norm.
But in June 2014 the city was completely overrun by the forces of IS. Christians were given an ultimatum by the terrorists, either to convert to Islam or be killed, and as a result there was an exodus of all the Christian families from the city itself and its surrounding area in the plain of Nineveh. Many Muslims and those of other faiths also fled, most with little more than the clothes on their backs – many sought shelter in Erbil, an autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Still in need
In spite of the good news that certain villages and small towns around the area of Mosul had been liberated, as well as some city neighbourhoods, the return home will not happen tomorrow. It may still take many months. The Church which has helped them since their flight in 2014, is still helping.
In Iraqi Kurdistan where they have found refuge, numerous people need not only a roof over head, but food, clothing and medication, as well as a school for their children. That is why Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil turned to ACN, urgently seeking help for 12,000 of the most needy families who left everything behind them. He asked us to help the people for 6 months by supplying a monthly food parcel, containing: sugar, rice, oil, noodles, tomato purée, canned fish, milk powder and other canned foods such as chicken and mushrooms, and also dried beans. The families also receive a portion of fresh salad. The food parcels are packed and distributed by well-organized volunteer helpers.
The package containing staple foods for six months comes at a cost of barely 463 dollars per family. Aid to the Church in Need has been able to promise a total of 5,548,000 CAN for the families.