By Eva-Maria Kolmann
More than 12,000 private homes in twelve Christian villages on the Nineveh plains were damaged by “Islamic State”. A total of 669 houses were completely destroyed. These were the findings of a study initiated by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. According to the study, the costs for rebuilding will far exceed $(US)200 million dollars.
(Iraq Survey – Destroyed and damaged houses in the Nineveh Plains © Aid to the Church in Need)
As part of the study, 1,500 families who fled to Erbil from the affected regions were also asked whether they intended to return to the – now liberated – places they had come from. 1,308 of these responded.
41 per cent of the respondents indicated that they wanted to return to their native villages, 46 per cent said that they were considering it. In a survey also carried out by Aid to the Church in Need among 5,762 internally displaced persons in November 2016, only 3.28 per cent of the respondents wanted to return to their native villages; at that time, the security situation in the liberated region was still fragile and combat operations were still ongoing.
57 per cent of respondents reported that their possessions had been plundered, 22 per cent responded that their houses had been destroyed. The rest could not provide any information on the current condition of their houses and belongings. Slightly over a quarter (25.46 per cent) reported that their papers had been stolen by the terrorists of the Islamic State.
Currently, there are still 14,000 registered families who fled from Mosul and the Nineveh plains living in Erbil. This is approximately equal to 90,000 people, down from originally 120,000 in 2014. 12,000 families continue to depend on humanitarian aid from Aid to the Church in Need.
The study, carried out by Aid to the Church in Need with the help of local church employees, consisted of three parts: first, the damages done to private homes by ISIS was ascertained. The findings of the investigation on the damages to social institutions such as schools and clinics as well as to church buildings will follow.
(A headless statue of the Virgin Mary in a Church looted and burned by ISIS forces in 2014 © Aid to the Church in Need)
Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting the Christians in Iraq since 2014 with over $36 million in aid for emergency relief projects, education, food and the livelihoods of displaced persons.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 172 languages and 50 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.
For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.
On Line donations can be made at www.aidtochurch.org