Families in Syria and Iraq will be receiving food, medicine, shelter, and pastoral support in a series of relief programs.
International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced the funding of a series of extra emergency aid packages for Christians in Syria and Iraq escaping persecution and grappling with the onset of winter.
In ACN’s press release, it noted there will be 19 relief programs in Syria and 11 in Iraq.
Reports suggest that altogether 12.2 million people are in desperate need of aid in war-torn Syria and an estimated 7.6 million are thought to be internally displaced by the conflict.
Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, the Christian population has declined by almost two-thirds and fewer than 250,000 Christians remain in Syria today. Approx. 250,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from a million in 2003.
The following projects are designed to support families who fled ISIS in northern Iraq:
- For Christians who took refuge in Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq, ACN is helping to provide a nursery school for 125 toddlers
- For 175 families in the Father Werenfried Village in Erbil, ACN is funding showers, wash basins and toilets
- For Christians at a displacement camp in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, ACN is providing electricity, food and water
- Also at the Baghdad displacement camp, ACN is constructing a chapel
- For 182 Christian displaced families in the Archdiocese of Kirkuk and Sulaimanya, ACN is providing financial aid to help cover the cost of living
ACN’s emergency and project help for Syria, include:
- A car for the Sisters who run a hospital in Damascus
- Six-months funding for schools in the Valley of Christians and Marmarita, including teachers’ salaries and scholarships for first and second grade students as well as college students
- Heaters and fuel for families displaced from Alqariatin to safe areas in Homs, Fairozah and Zlidal
- Food and other basic needs for 4,500 families in Homs.
The charity has been asked not to give details of amounts of aid given in case recipients are targeted.
Since 2011, ACN has given more than $13 million for projects in Iraq and more than $10 million for help in Syria. ACN’s Middle East projects coordinator Father Andrzej Halemba said: “The help ACN is providing for Christians in countries such as Iraq is urgently needed. The governmental institutions are not doing what is necessary to help these communities who are struggling so much at this time.
“We need to remember how much Christians have contributed to society over generations and indeed centuries and now in their time of need they have been abandoned.”