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Christian Aid launches Iraq crisis appeal

16 June 2014 - Christian Aid has launched an appeal to enable its partner organisations in northern Iraq to step up relief operations to help the thousands who have fled in the face of an offensive by insurgents in recent days.

Some half a million people are estimated to be on the move after fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured the city of Mosul and a number of other towns north of Baghdad.

A large number of those fleeing have made their way into the north east of the country – some 200,000 of them to the city of Dohuk, and another 100,000 to the city of Erbil.

Relief services in that part of Iraq are already hard-pressed coping with tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived from the conflict in Syria in recent years.

Christian Aid’s humanitarian programmes manager, Adrian Ouvry, said today: ‘This is a crisis on top of a crisis. Large numbers have fled to an area where there is already a serious humanitarian crisis as a result of the Syrian conflict.

‘Over 220,000 Syrian refugees are already in northern Iraq trying to escape the fighting in their own country. These emergencies are on a huge scale. There is an overwhelming need for help.

‘Christian Aid partners will be stepping up their work to reach the new influx of internally displaced with food, water and hygiene and sanitation kits, with a view to move to longer team need such as cash for work later in the response.’ he added.

Christian Aid partner REACH already works with some of the most vulnerable refugee communities living in informal camps around Sulymaniyah and Erbil.

Hero Anwar, senior programme officer with REACH, said helping the new arrivals from the latest conflict would now become a priority.

‘For now we have to focus on emergency response,’ she said. ‘People cannot stay in a place where they are under threat. They have had to flee their homes with nothing. They need basic items just to survive. With the support from Christian Aid, we are able to respond.’

Christian Aid hopes ultimately to help some 50,000 of those most recently displaced.

To find out more please visit the Christian Aid webpage

To donate to the Iraq Crisis Appeal please call (01) 901 5035.

If you would like further information or to arrange an interview please contact Adrian Horsman on:

Belfast office direct: +44 (0)28 9069 9123

Mobile: +44 (0)7710 764 093

Email: ahorsman@christianaid.org

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document From Inspiration to Impact explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.ie