Iraq: CRS, Caritas Reach Displaced Families

A Humanitarian Crisis

A displaced Iraqi helps unload water in Community Center's Kitchen at the Church of St. John the Baptist. Photo courtesy of Alexander Buehler for Caritas Iraq

A displaced Iraqi helps unload water in Community Center’s Kitchen at the Church of St. John the Baptist. Photo courtesy of Alexander Buehler for Caritas Iraq

Escalating violence in northern and central Iraq has caused devastation and mass displacement of 1.2 million people since January. Fear looms as the Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria (ISIS) has taken control of large swaths of the Ninewa, Salah Al-Din and Diyala provinces.

Religious minorities, including Christians, Shia Muslims and Turkmen, have been singled out for attack. On July 18, ISIS issued threats directly to Christians in Mosul, resulting in the sudden flight of the remaining 500 Christian families to safer areas of Ninewa.

donate-nowThe journey is not without danger: Families are stripped of all possessions at ISIS checkpoints. Many are living in empty houses, schools, clinics, church compounds and abandoned buildings, with living conditions deteriorating.

CRS/Caritas Response
CRS is providing humanitarian relief to 3,500 displaced Iraqi families in Ninewa. CRS works in close partnership with Caritas Iraq and is establishing a new joint office in Erbil, in addition to three locations in northern Iraq.

Impact to Date
In June and July, CRS/Caritas Iraq provided 2,000 displaced families from Mosul with food, bedding and hygiene supplies.

A Call for Collective Action
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families are in peril and in need of meaningful interventions to prevent further catastrophe. CRS is seeking support for humanitarian efforts, which are critical to protecting and saving lives immediately, as well as preparing for the needs ahead.

Pope Francis launched an appeal for unity, calling for “security, peace and a future of reconciliation and justice, where all Iraqis, whatever their religion, could build their nation together, creating a model of coexistence.” Iraqi bishops also issued a statement in July pleading for increased humanitarian assistance and protection of minorities.

CRS and Partner Response Strategy
Over the next 6 months, CRS will provide the following support to 30,000 families, with a commitment of $650,000 in private funds. Based on the evolving needs on the ground and our ability to identify additional resources, CRS and Caritas Iraq will expand these critical efforts to more families and communities in dire need.

Food, Water and Essential Living Supplies
With people on the move and robbed of their belongings, many have no means to purchase the basics. In coordination with the United Nations and peer agencies, CRS and Caritas will provide food, water and living supplies.

Psychological and Social Support, and Trauma Healing
Emotional trauma is high, especially among minorities who were the target of attacks. CRS and Caritas will carry out puppet methodology for trauma healing and the building of peaceful relations. This will involve training of staff and volunteers on skills and practices proven successful in similar backdrops. Activities will engage children as well as their parents.

Education for Internally Displaced Children
donate-nowThe Ministry of Education requested help to ensure that all children are able to take their end-of-year exams in mid-August. Many children have missed months of school. CRS and Caritas will provide children with education and exam preparation, while helping schools with the influx of children.

Preparation for Longer-Term Resettlement
CRS/Caritas is preparing for the long-term reality facing families: resettling in new locations, the onset of winter, safe and dignified shelter, and livelihood options, such as cash- for- work and vocational training.


  1. Michel Sahyoun says:

    The last remaining Christians in the Middle East are in danger. Most of these communities date back to the earliest days of Christianity and are far more endangered than any other of earth’s inhabitants. They are expecting help from the West that has not been coming, and nobody seems to care about their plight. They need urgent help now!

  2. To our brothers and sisters who have been displaced, please know that you are greatly loved ! Know that you are not alone and we are praying for you, your loved ones and those who are committing terrible atrocities.

  3. Tina Sue Martin says:

    Thank you for helping the minorities in Iraq!!!

  4. Dear CRS,
    I have been closely following the violence around the world in Iraq and Syria, Nigeria and Israel as well as the influx of refugee children into the US who are fleeing the violence caused by the drug trade in Central America. I have several prayer partners that I can occasionally call upon for prayers and I have seen God’s power moving even in this very small group. I believe that the real solution to all of these threats is prayers fortified with fasting (even in small ways) for those who are causing all of the violence. Jesus’ words to love our enemies, to pray for our persecutors, to bless those who curse us, to give to whom ever asks even the cloak off our backs (and our shirt as well and turning the other cheek) are all ways of turning our enemy into our friend and brother or sister. Our prayers of course are for the conversion of our enemy and the staying of his hand in violence. God often allowed the prevailing of enemies against His people when they strayed (in both the Old and New Testaments, IE. the destruction of the temple x3) and this can be a wake up call for Catholics and Christians and Jews around the world who are facing their enemies. Pray for them (our enemies) and do good to those who do evil! All of my prayers are offered for this purpose and it may be that God will multiply His graces like the loaves and fishes if many more join in this holy endeavor. I continue to pray for God’s multiplied graces, Judi

    • Edward Hoyt says:

      Thank you, Judi. We continue to believe that prayer is a powerful weapon, and we encourage all engagement to start with prayer.

      We encourage you to use prayer resources from CRS that you can find here. You can also light a candle in our Virtual Chapel.

  5. Rita A Sweeney says:

    Hi – I am a monthly donor to CRS but wanted to make an additional donation for this continuing crisis in Iraq and much of that part of the world. I just did that on your web site. May God bless all that you do to help those who are in such great need and under such persecution. Rita Sweeney

  6. Marilyn lake says:

    I’ve been watching CNN breaking news I cried, what our christians brothers and sisters are going thru is hearbreaking, i am deeply sadden by the situation, I been praying, God bless and protect, the kids the elderly, they are exhausted and traumatized, father God take careof them,you guys are in my heart abd prayers

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