Iraq: Assistance needed for internally displaced and refugees

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While general security inside Iraq has somewhat improved during the past six months, the security situation for the common Iraqi has not necessarily improved equally. Some internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Iraq have started to return home, particularly to Baghdad. Minority communities, including Christians and other groups, remain especially vulnerable because they have much fewer possibilities to organize networks of protection for themselves.

The lack of security and fear of killings has severely impacted the social and economic life in Iraq. In many places, the population is deprived of clean water and electricity. People are threatened with death because of their affiliation to specific religions, among which also count the Christian minority.

Background

Escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq during July of 2007 created a situation of lawlessness and humanitarian distress. As a result, large parts of the population fled Baghdad to other regions in Iraq or sought refuge outside the country. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, two million Iraqis are internally displaced and more than two million have fled to neighbouring countries. There are an estimated 1.4 million Iraqi refugees in Syria and about 750,000 in Jordan.

Some Iraqis who fled the country have started to move back from Jordan and Syria, but most of them of are male members of families investigating the local security situation before potentially returning with their family.

In Jordan, the situation remains rather difficult for families, although about one fifth of the school-age refugee population is now attending public schools. In Syria, the situation has become worse for many families because people are unable to look for work and depend largely on outside assistance.

PWS&D responds

Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) contributed over $15,000 to provide Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria and Iraqis displaced within Iraq with food, medicines, medical treatment, clothing and computer training programs. ACT has reported that funding levels from around the world are well below those anticipated, limiting the ability of the response to reach the intended number of affected people.

You can help

Pray for the nation of Iraq, for its people and leaders, that there will soon be an end to the cycle of violence.

Donate to PWS&D to help provide emergency support to civilians who have fled the country and are living in Syria and Jordan, as well as those displaced within Iraq. Donations can be made through your local congregation designated “PWS&D Iraq refugees,” made online, or sent directly to PWS&D at:

Presbyterian World Service & Development
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
50 Wynford Dr. Toronto ON M3C 1J7