Iraqi refugees in desperate need of aid, relief worker says

Refugees who have fled from ISIS and arrived in Ankawa, in the northern part of Erbil, Iraq. Credit: www.ankawa.com.

As summer comes to a close and colder temperatures approach, Iraqi refugees will increasingly rely upon the international community to meet their needs, an aid worker on the ground in Kurdistan said.

Kris Ozar, head of programming for Catholic Relief Service Egypt, has been traveling back and forth from Erbil, where CRS is working to help the refugees there who are in great need.

Ozar voiced concern that public authorities lack a plan for the internally displaced persons.

“Nobody knows what to do at the moment, but there are 1.2 million internally displaced persons, according to United Nations data,” he told CNA Aug. 20. “These people are in need of everything. They don’t just need food clothing, water, food, i.e. the essential needs. We should remember that winter is coming and that they cannot sleep in the open air.”

More than 70,000 Christians have been displaced to Erbil from their homes in Mosul, Bakhdida, and other towns in Nineveh Province by the advent of the Islamic State, a recently established caliphate that has persecuted all non-Sunnis in its territory, which extends across swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Ozar recounted his experience in Erbil: “I saw tens of thousands of people sleeping under the open sky, in fear. They sleep in precarious hygienic conditions, they fear everything.”

He described the people who have fled as “families, normal people.”

Among the people he met in Erbil was a man named Bashar. Like many other, Bashar now sleeps on the ground, possessing nothing but the clothes he was wearing when he fled his home. He has collaborated with CRS on several occasions and shared a video on his phone of the 10-hour journey to Erbil.  

Ozar explained that “Catholic Relief Service is providing short term, mid-term and long term assistance. For the long term, we must build shelters for these people, since winter is coming.”

However, the agency will not be able to provide the necessary aid without international help.

“We need funds,” he stressed. “We need 7 million dollars to be able to provide supplies as well as a shelter, but we need the international community to immediately transfer the money, to let us work. Help is needed now.”
 


Voices

Easter and beyond

Anne Hansen

We move quickly from our major religious holidays each year. It’s not intentional. Life hurries along and as soon as the sun sets on one holiday the next is being touted by merchants looking to sell us whatever the next big day brings. To remain in the spirit of the religious holiday — in this case Easter — takes deliberate intention.

Opportunities with Sisters of St. Joseph

Events

April 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

April 25, 2015

  • Saturday, April 25

    Super Groovy 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m., Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys. Sponsored by St. Euphrasia School, this year’s “Super Groovy” theme celebrates the school’s 50th anniversary of its founding in 1964 and serves as a tribute to that nostalgic era of peace and love — the 60’s. At the finish line, all runners and walkers will be puffed with clouds of psychodelic color. Registration $25-$40. For more information, contact Susie Sempelsz, (818) 488-1598. info@knights5k.org.

    5th Annual Car Show, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Junipero Serra High School, 14830 S Van Ness Ave., Gardena. Featuring classics, hot rods, and muscle cars as well as food, music, vendors and raffles. (310) 324-6675. la-serrahs.org.

    Challenge Weekend for Men, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and April 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Povorello Retreat House, 1519 Woodworth St., San Fernando. Presented by St. John Eudes and Our Lady of Grace Men’s Fellowships. Men will not board overnight; lunch is provided both days. $90 or donation. Register at knowingweekend.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Fred Perez, (818) 749-5126.

    First Annual Sacred Heart High School Gala, 5 p.m., Los Angeles City College New Student Activities Center, 855 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event, themed “United to Empower,” will benefit the Comet Scholarship Fund.



TotTurf Recreational Surfaces

Get our news by email

Together in Mission 300x250
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250