Iraqi Orphanages Feeling Postwar Turmoil

VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Children living in Iraqi orphanages are now victims of drug traffickers and criminal bands, the Latin-rite archbishop of Baghdad, Jean Sleiman, said in statements published in L’Osservatore Romano.

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«There were many orphanages in the Iraqi capital. Of these, at least 12 are now totally empty. There are no children now,» the Italian edition of the Vatican semiofficial newspaper reported today.

Even children who have families live in fear. «Parents accompany their children to school personally, and get out of their cars armed with Kalashnikovs. All are afraid of the kidnappings,» he said.

For his part, Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad has appealed for the re-establishment of sufficient security conditions to respond «rapidly» to the formation of a provisional government.

«Above all what is lacking is security,» he said. «It is the greatest concern of the Church in Iraq. Without security, no one can study or work. Medicines and electricity are also lacking. The situation in hospitals is precarious; some have been ransacked and burned.»

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