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Caritas among first responders offering relief in Iraq

Caritas among first responders offering relief to Iraqi families

As the plight of Iraqis fleeing persecution reaches tragic levels, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged an initial $10,000 to support the work of Caritas in Iraq to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of families affected by the war and sectarian violence.

Caritas are among the first organisations to supply food, water, bedding and essential living supplies, and have initially assisted more than 3,500 families in northern and central Iraq that have been displaced by ongoing violent attacks from the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq (formerly ISIS) since June this year.

“[One of] the biggest challenges is shelter. Many families are living out in the open; they lack the basics. Temperatures are more than 45°C,” said Nabil Nissan, the Executive Director of Caritas Iraq.

More than 1 million people have fled their homes in the devastated provinces and ISIS has seized Ninewa, Salah Al-Din and Diyala provinces.

Many of those who have fled are Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims who have been singled out for attacks. Their belongings are taken at Islamic State checkpoints, women and girls have been kidnapped, and many have been brutally murdered for their faith.

As part of the recently launched Peace in the Middle East campaign, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is seeking support for the continuing humanitarian efforts that are critical to protecting and saving lives immediately, as well as preparing for the needs ahead.

“We are truly appalled by the escalating situation in Iraq. Caritas Iraq is one of the few organisations on the ground and we are standing in solidarity with them, and with all those affected by the senseless violence,” says Julianne Hickey, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director.

Funds raised will contribute to the CRS and Partner Response Strategy, which will focus on providing food, water and essential living supplies; psychosocial support and trauma healing; education for internally displaced children; and preparation for longer-term resettlement over the next 6 months.

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