19 Aug 2014

Caritas - Relief Reaches Families in Iraq

The plight of Iraqis fleeing persecution is a tragedy on an epic level, says Caritas Iraq. They’re working with Caritas Internationalis organisations to reach thousands of people in need.
More than 1 million people have fled their homes in northern and central Iraq as religious Sunni Muslim extremists calling themselves Islamic State have seized Ninewa, Salah Al-Din and Diyala provinces.
Many of those who have fled are Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims. They have been singled out for attacks. Their belongings are taken at Islamic State checkpoints. Women and girls have been kidnapped.
Those fleeing have arrived in Erbil, Dohuk and surrounding areas with nothing.
“The biggest challenge is shelter. Many families are living in out in the open. They lack the basics. Temperatures are more than 45°C,” said Nabil Nissan, the Executive Director of Caritas Iraq.
Caritas Iraq has provided food, water, bedding and essential living supplies.

In the first phase, they reached 3000 families. Now into the second stage, they are aiding 2000 beneficiaries in Zakho and 3000 in Duhok.
The scale of the suffering is overwhelming relief efforts. Nabil Nissan isn’t despondent: “There is no place for despair in this crisis. We need patience, effort and resistance.”Emotional trauma is high, especially among religious and ethnic minorities who were the target of attacks.

“The shock they faced was horrific and had a great negative impact on their psychology,” said Nabil Nissan. “Imagine to be forced out of your house without being able to take anything to meet your needs.”
Caritas Iraq is working actively with Caritas member Catholic Relief Services. CRS will train staff and volunteers on trauma healing and the building of peaceful relations.
CRS and Caritas will provide children with education and exam preparation, while helping schools with the influx of children.
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