Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) continues to help in the reconstruction in the Nineveh Plain – its “Marshall Plan” to support the Christians of Iraq. Less than a year after the opening of the first sites in the villages of Bartella, Karamless, and Qaraqosh, May 8, 2017, the results achieved are encouraging.
On March 25 the returnee families throughout Nineveh Plain were 8,213, more than 42 percent of the 19,452 forced to flee because of the invasion of the Islamic State in August 2014. Private homes destroyed by jihadists in two years were over 13,088, of which 1,234 totally destroyed. So far, 3,249 have been repaired. To coordinate the work is the Committee for the reconstruction of Nineveh, set up on March 27, 2017, by the three churches of Iraq: Chaldean, Syrian Catholic and Syrian Orthodox in collaboration with the ACN in Syria.
“The Christians were the first to return to these villages,” said Don Salar Boudagh, general vicar of the Chaldean Diocese of Alqosh and member of the Committee. “With the help of the Church and associations linked to it we have begun to rebuild and retrain in the region.” Of course, there are difficulties. “Tensions between the Baghdad government and the Kurdistan affected the level of security and the economic conditions, he said. “Also, the road that links Mosul to Nineveh Plain is still closed and Christians cannot reach the second Iraqi city to look for work.”
Then there are the uncertainties and fears regarding the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held next May 12. “We fear further unrest,” says Don Salar.