Ever since the summer of 2014, when the 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 within Iraq alone. A great many of these came from Mosul and its surrounding area.
Even before then and ever since the US invasion of 2003, Mosul had become something of a hell, especially for the Christians, with abductions, bomb attacks and the targeted murder of individuals a regular occurrence. 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 Niniveh. Many Muslims and those of other faiths also fled, most with little more than the clothes on their backs. Most fled to the region of Erbil in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Archbishop Warda with volunteers co-ordinating the food hampers for the 12,000 families
© Aid to the Church in Need
The Catholic Church in Iraqi Kurdistan now has its hands full trying to help all the thousands of refugees who have fled here, needing not only of a roof over their heads but also food, clothing, medical care and in the longer term, schooling for their children. And so Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil turned to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), urgently seeking help for 12,000 of the most needy families who left everything behind them. ACN was asked to help them for half a year with a monthly food parcel, containing sugar, rice, oil, noodles, tomato purÃ©e, 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-organised volunteer helpers.
The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929
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