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CWS launches appeal for Iraqis on World Humanitarian Day

19 August 2014

CWS launches appeal for Iraqis on World Humanitarian Day

Christian World Service is appealing for help for tens of thousands of Iraqis caught up in one of the world’s horrifying conflicts.

The Islamic State (IS) is taking over large swaths of northern and western Iraq. The civilian population has reported terrifying levels of violence. The UN is reporting that this is one of the largest internal displacements in the world.

Over 1.5 million people are in urgent need of help. They need food, water, shelter, healthcare, shelter and protection from violence. ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) of which CWS is a member, is doing its best to respond to their desperate need.

ACT Alliance members have expanded their work in the region to provide life-saving relief: shelter, food, water, non-food items, hygiene kits, and protection measures. One member Christian Aid has been working with REACH (Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health) since 1996. It is based in Sulaimaniyah and has considerable experience in supporting refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq. ACT Alliance members are supporting displaced communities in Sinjar, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Karbala and Sulaimaniyah with food baskets, hygiene kits and other assistance.

“The UN has declared this an emergency at the highest level. We need to scale up our response to Yazidis, Christians and displaced people who have little food and water in places where shortages are severe. CWS is appealing for funds so that our partners who are already in the region can distribute food and non-food items to displaced people,” says Pauline McKay, National Director.

“Today is World Human Humanitarian Day. New Zealanders have a great track record of helping those in need. Aid given for relief in Iraq and Syria so far is well short of what is needed,” she adds.

CWS joins the World Council of Churches in appealing to the United Nations “to ensure the rights, dignity and physical survival of the diverse peoples of Iraq and its neighbours.” Every effort needs to be made to uphold human life, end the violence and find a lasting solution to the crisis.

“We cannot underestimate the need for protection of civilians especially women, children, the elderly, those living with disabilities, and minority populations,” said John Nduna, ACT General Secretary.

Donations to the Iraq Appeal for emergency relief can be made: on line at www.cws.org.nz/donate, sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140 or by calling 0800 74 73 72.

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