AINA: Christians in Iraq Face Uncertain Future
By John Burger
Tens of thousands of refugees in northern Iraq are facing a winter living in tents or unfinished concrete buildings.
Humanitarian aid organizations, local governments and NGOs are doing what they can to keep internally displaced persons warm, healthy and well-fed, but the task is huge, and some people on the ground say a humanitarian crisis looms.
“It’s very dire. It’s not going to improve very soon. Conditions are deteriorating. People are in desperate need for help, and the government of Iraq has not helped in any way,” said Joseph T. Kassab, founder and president of the US-based Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute. “Winter is really fierce in Iraq. Lot of people living in shelters or in the open.”
Kassab, whose brother is Bishop Jibrael Kassab of the Chaldean Church in Australia and New Zealand, was himself a refugee from Iraq in 1980.
It is estimated that there are 120,000 Christian refugees in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil, living in schools, churches, monasteries and parks after they were forced from their homes in Mosul and other cities of the Nineveh Plain over the summer by forces of the Islamic State group.
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