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14 ACN_Archbishop Amil Nona

Charity sends £3million to persecuted Iraqis

ACN’s programme, one of the charity’s largest such projects to date, will help Christian victims of ISIS terror attacks who are still displaced as winter sets in

Thousands of displaced Iraqi Christians are to receive food, shelter, schooling and gifts for children in a concerted pre-winter emergency relief effort from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

More than £3 million from ACN, one of the largest such projects in the charity’s 67-year history, will go to Christian victims of ISIS terror attacks.

The announcement comes amid fresh reports from Iraq that the crisis facing up to 120,000 displaced Christians is on the verge of worsening drastically.

There is huge pressure to move thousands of families out of tents before winter comes and the weather is expected to deteriorate sharply in the next few weeks. Other families have just days to leave public buildings such as schools that have been converted into displacement centres where they have been sleeping up to 20 to a room.

The Christian communities are entirely dependent on outside help and have been supported by the Church since they arrived in Kurdish northern Iraq.

Chaldean Archbishop Amil Nona (above) of Mosul, who was among the 500,000 people who fled the city in June when it was seized by Islamic State (ISIS), is chairman of the Emergency Committee of Bishops formed to coordinate relief efforts.

“I am personally so grateful to ACN—you are giving us new hope,” he said.

It is now nearly four months since the displaced Christians fled their homes with little more than the clothes they were wearing when Islamic State fighters advanced on Mosul city and towns and villages in the neighbouring Nineveh plains.

ACN’s emergency projects’ package includes: pre-fabricated PVC schools or 15,000 children, food for displaced people totally reliant on outside help, rented accommodation for displaced people, 150 PVC porta-cabins in Ankawa for use as accommodation and Christmas gifts for 15,000 children including warm clothes (coats and socks), pencils, colouring books and devotional items and ACN child’s Bibles.

Taken together, the aid builds significantly on the £160,000 given as emergency aid to Christians fleeing Mosul and the Nineveh Plains in the immediate aftermath of the ISIS attacks.

The projects were drawn up during an ACN fact-finding and project assessment trip organised at short notice and completed a week ago.

Fr Andrzej Halemba, the charity’s head of Middle East projects said they had to act because ‘this ancient community, which dates back to Biblical times, is on the verge of disappearing forever.’

“They have suffered so much,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help them and give them what they need to get through the winter.”

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil said it was incredibly grateful to ‘Aid to the Church in Need for acting so quickly to help the people especially as we get close to winter.’

 

—To donate or find out more http://www.acnuk.org/

 

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