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Iraq one year on: responding to the escalating humanitarian crisis

 15 June 2015 - As the Iraq crisis continues and millions more are displaced by relentless fighting, Christian Aid continues to respond to people’s mounting humanitarian needs.

Frances Guy, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East said: “One year ago Christian Aid launched an appeal to help the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fleeing the advance of the so-called Islamic State into Mosul and the plains of Ninewah. 

“One year on, Iraqis are still fleeing and more than 3 million have left their homes taking very little with them, and now have to contend with summer temperatures of 50oC.  Thanks to the generosity in support of our Iraq appeal Christian Aid continues to work through our partners on the ground to provide urgent relief to Iraqis hit by conflict.

“One year on, nearly a million Iraqi children are still living in temporary accommodation, with little or no access to schools, and limited help to deal with the trauma they have witnessed.   With our partners, Christian Aid is working to help provide some much needed psycho-social support.    Help us ensure that these children continue to get the support they need.”

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is dire. Successive waves of armed conflict within the country have left over 8 million people – a large portion of them children – in need of humanitarian assistance. This huge number includes 1.5 million people hosting those displaced by conflict, 1.4 million people living in active areas of fighting (where access to basic services is minimal), and a quarter of a million refugees, most of whom have fled civil war in neighbouring Syria.

The violent conflict has continued to claim a high number of civilian deaths, with over 1,000 people killed in May 2015 alone, and has resulted in the country having one of the largest populations of internally displaced people in the world.

Christian Aid partners have been responding to the needs of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees by providing food, clothes, hygiene kits and health services to more than 50,000 people in the past year and will be reaching 25,000 in the coming months including providing shelter and fans to offer those living in makeshift homes some protection from the harsh summer heat.

The charity’s partners are also responding to the recent wave of 180,000 people who have been displaced from the Ramadi area as a result of intense fighting
Conflict and the mass movement of people forced to flee their homes makes women and girls more vulnerable to violence and insecurity.  Christian Aid partner Asuda, which works to combat violence against women, has reached thousands of vulnerable women providing some basic hygiene kits and helping them access Asuda’s counselling, legal and medical referral services. 

Psycho-social support for children and young people from Christian Aid partner REACH includes classes in music, art, drama, English and local Kurdish dialects, and a workshop on conflict and peacebuilding with children from displaced Iraqi, Syrian refugee and host communities. 

Christian Aid says the UK government and international community urgently need to invest support in grassroots incentives to build peace and reconciliation across Iraq and to support Iraqi organisations who are working to help those of all faiths and ethnicities.

To find out more about our Iraq crisis appeal or to donate please visit the website.

Christian Aid’s Syria crisis appeal is also providing relief to Syrian refugees in Iraq, to find out more please visit this webpage.

If you would like further information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact Johanna Rogers 0n 0207 523 2460 and jrogers@christian-aid.org 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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