Catholic aid agencies helping the displaced in northern Iraq say they are reaching those in need as the Covid-19 situation slowly improves there.
“We are going back to normal life gradually,” said Fr Emanuel Youkhana, who runs the Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq (CAPNI), a Christian program for displaced Iraqis around the northern city of Dahuk.
Fr Youkhana, a priest, or archimandrite, of the Assyrian Church of the East, told CNS: “It all depends on the geography. We are permitted to do these activities in the geographical area we are able to operate in.”
He said the Catholic charity Caritas in Germany is supporting a program for “1,000 food and hygiene baskets for 1,000 families in need, by door to door distribution. The authorities are facilitating this. We are relying on international donors. Because of Easter, it took a bit of time to approve and launch the project.” Families typically include five or more children, so the outreach could involve more than 7,000 people.
The New York-based Catholic Near East Welfare Association is helping support CAPNI’s counselling work in northern Iraq for more than 1,000 beneficiaries. The counselling targets Christian families and includes catechesis/spiritual direction and psycho-social assistance.
“We are reaching the needy, especially those who are internally displaced, mainly Christians and Yazidis, and who were relying on day-to-day work, and now they don’t have this due to concerns over the coronavirus,” Fr Youkhana said.
Picture: A doctor checks the blood pressure of a displaced Iraqi woman in a medical centre at a camp in Dahuk on 7th March 2020. Catholic aid agencies helping the displaced in northern Iraq say they are reaching those in need as the Covid-19 situation there slowly improves. (CNS photo/Ari Jalal, Reuters).