Marking the one-year anniversary of the mass exodus of more than 120,000 Christians from Iraq’s major Christian city, the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) announced a new aid package worth approx. $4M for the country’s terrorized community of faithful.
The refugees, the majority of them Chaldeans, had to leave all their possessions behind; they are now stranded in Kurdish Iraq, where they continue to suffer material, psychological and spiritual hardships. Some thousands of Iraqi Christians have sought refuge in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
The aid package announcement came today, Aug. 6, 2015, exactly one year after ISIS took control of the city of Qaraqosh, its second major assault on Iraq’s Christian heartland after sacking the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, a month earlier.
The bulk of the fresh round of ACN funding will pay the coming six months’ rent for displaced Christian families living in and around the Kurdish capital of Erbil; monies will also go toward providing food for at least 13,000 families. In addition, ACN will cover living expenses for both Chaldean and Syriac-Catholic clergy
George Marlin, chairman of ACNUSA said that “the latest series of projects will ensure the continuation of the Christian presence in Iraq and the wider Middle East. Thanks to the compassion of our benefactors, ACN has been able to nourish the hope of those displaced within the country.”
It is estimated that around 8.2 million people are in need of assistance in Iraq, with 3.1 million people internally displaced since August 2014. Since 2011, ACN has spent more than $8M to help Iraqi Christians; one-third of ACN grants have paid for the rental of reliable housing for internally displaced people.
ACN will also continue provide significant amounts of aid to Christian refugees in Lebanon Syria, in particular humanitarian supplies for Melkite and Syrian-Catholic families in the city of Homs.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)