Working with local churches and partner organizations, Open Doors has been supporting hundreds of Iraqi Christian refugees with humanitarian aid since they were forced out of their homes last month following the occupation of the Iraqi city of Mosul by violent extremist Muslims of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to reports, up to 3,000 Christian families fled Mosul on June 9 – most to the safer northern Kurdish area. In the days that followed, up to half a million people fled Mosul and the surrounding region.
“The immediate needs were very obvious – water and food,” reported one Open Doors field worker. “Because many of the refugees were placed in schools or empty buildings, they were sleeping on a piece of cardboard; there were no mattresses and pillows. And with temperatures reaching 113 degrees during the day, a third need made itself known – air coolers, especially important for families with young children or the elderly.”
Presently, through local partner organizations, Open Doors is supporting Christian villages and churches in their efforts to serve those seeking refuge in their areas. Soon, Open Doors hopes to support 2,000 families in 21 villages, even the most remote ones.
“When you hear that people are arriving without any food or water, having walked for half a day or longer with only a plastic bag with their belongings, you just want to provide help,” shared Open Doors’ field worker. “People can live a day without water, but in this heat, of course, it was imperative that we needed to act immediately.”
Open Doors has been ministering to persecuted refugees from Mosul, Baghdad, and other areas in Iraq for years. To date, the ministry has engaged in trauma support, biblical training for church leaders and Muslim Background Believers (MBBs), distribution of Bibles and Christian literature, community development projects, and work with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kurdistan.
Published: July 10, 2014