World Vision launches advocacy and aid response to Iraqi refugees
REGIONAL - World Vision is joining key coalitions in Europe and the United States to advocate for the estimated 2 million Iraqis who have fled across borders to escape violence in their homeland. A scaling up of immediate aid through partner organisations in Jordan has begun and the possibility of assisting Iraqi refugees other neighbouring countries is also being investigated.
"This humanitarian crisis has been quietly unfolding for a long time, yet until just recently, it really has had no voice. But the suffering is real," said Hendrik Harbers, World Vision's relief coordinator for the Middle East.
"None of the nations in the region receiving this massive outpouring of refugees have the infrastructure and services to accommodate such numbers. It is contributing to instability," continued Harbers.
For this response, World Vision will support long term partner organisations in providing food and non-food essentials, providing basic health care and non-formal education to Iraqi children, initially in Jordan.
The UNHCR reports as many as 50,000 people are fleeing Iraq a month. Between 500,000 and 700,000 Iraqi refugees are in Jordan and 700,000 to 1 million in Syria. Others have fled to Egypt and Lebanon.
"World Vision has noted that Christians and other religious minorities are prominent among refugees in Jordan. Members of these groups say they are being targeted because of their beliefs", said Sharon Payt, World Vision Advocacy Director.
"These communities are a stabilizing factor in the Middle East. Most of them are ancient communities. We will be including Christians and other minorities in our efforts to plead for all Iraqi refugees," said Payt.
"All the Iraqis, Christians and Muslims, are living in a situation without solutions. You find tragedy after tragedy," said Father Khalil Jaar, parish priest at St. Mary of Nazareth Catholic Church in Amman and a long-time World Vision partner.
"All the world is coming against terrorism but can you imagine the terror these people live in. Who will have the courage to say to the important people that we need to help these people?" he said.
World Vision is calling for increased aid to meet the immediate material needs of Iraqi refugees with a special focus on children. Partner agencies report widespread emotional problems among refugee children. Families report their children grow restless and depressed because they cannot attend schools.
World Vision will support partner organisations in providing food and non-food essentials, providing basic health care and non-formal education to children.
Brian Jonson Communications Manager, Mobile +961-3-521042, Office +961-4-401-980/1/3 ext. 40
Hendrik Harbers World Vision Relief Coordinator, Mobile. +357 99 388 981, Tel. +357 22 870 277
Rienk van Velzen Regional Communications Director, overall Communications Management and coordination, Mobile +31 651 832 040, Office: +31 180 525797