Iraqi refugees weather the winter

As Iraqi Christians from the Nineveh Plain spend their first winter away from their homes, conditions are becoming extreme. 

Relief organisations moved thousands out of camps into rented accommodation. 

In Mosul, one of the towns they left behind, conditions have grown desperate. 

One British newspaper says it has been told there have been sharp price rises for basic goods and widespread shortages, as well as public beheadings of people that the new Islamic State occupiers consider to be a threat – including doctors, lawyers and MPs. 

In Irbil, to where thousands of Christians fled, a church collective has been formed to provide food and clean water. 

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid is supporting the collective as well as Canon Andrew White’s Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). 

FRRME partner Mart Shamoni Church runs one of the biggest camps in Ankawa, where most Christian refugees are based.

The camp initially had 2500 people but this halved as people were moved to rented accommodation for the winter. Families also moved to the incomplete Ankawa Mall, where they are living in plastic containers to shelter from the cold. 

Some left for Baghdad. Canon White has been prevented from returning to Baghdad because of security concerns. In his latest reports, Canon White says recent cold weather has hit the region hard.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights reports that 17 Syrian and Iraqi children have died in refugee camps, because of the recent cold weather. 

Heavy snow recently hit parts of the Kurdistan Region and children are also reported to have frozen to death in refugees camps in Lebanon and Turkey.

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