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US pledges $300 million to facilitate Iraqi Christians to return to their homes

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United States government has announced an aid of $300 million to the desperate Iraqi Christians and other minorities’ communities so that they could return to their homes. The US government’s latest assistance plan will succor these communities.

Christians in Middle East

The plan will provide the religious minorities in Iraq funds to facilitate rebuilding their houses, restoring their heritage sites, clearing the left behind explosives etc. This announcement followed plea of the Head of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako that “there’s been nothing up to now” from the US.

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The US efforts to restore and rehabilitate the beleaguered communities are showing signs of progress. USAID repaired homes, funded setting up of clinics, establishment of 21 schools, repairing wells thus providing water for 12,000 people in the town of Bashiqa home to Christians and Yazidis.

In this regard, the Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute Ms Nina Shea said that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) “has been very slow in getting aid out the door, and it’s just starting to make a difference, with reconstructing schools, electricity switched on, etc., since mid-September.”

Reports emerge that almost 40,000 Christians who escaped the violence perpetrated by terror group ISIS have moved back to their homes in Nineveh, despite the fact that there are challenges. Alberto Ortega, Vatican’s diplomat in Iraq said: “There is still much to be done, much to rebuild. The houses were damaged, burned or destroyed. But now almost half of the Christians, in some places, who had left their homes, have been able to return.”

David Curry, President of Open Doors USA stated: “Based on our long-term work with partners on the ground there, this plan for distribution is spot on. Their water supply has been sabotaged and they can’t plant their fields due to explosive devices embedded in them…,” he said adding, “Without large scale support like this, the Iraqi people will not be able to become economically healthy again and their people, who have no jobs, will not be able to sustain themselves long-term.”