Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Archbishop Bishar Warda has stated that in Erbil, there are currently 2,000 Christian families affected by COVID, with 23 individuals having died since March. Maryamana Hospital in Ankawa, a Christian neighborhood in Erbil, is used to coordinate COVID treatment but does not have any infected patients, who are mostly treated at home in order to prevent the disease’s spread amongst other patients. They are also treated at home because of bed and supply shortages.
This situation puts additional strain on Iraq’s already beleaguered Christian community. Most of Erbil’s Christians were displaced by the Islamic State during their genocide six years ago. They lost everything during this displacement: family heirlooms, livelihoods, basic belongings, their homes. Although ISIS is now officially defeated, many fear that their underlying ideology has not been addressed and are fearful of returning back to their communities. For those who have returned, they face a community which is harassed by militias and whose infrastructure is still lacking. Remaining in Erbil was supposed to be the safe and more stable option for many families, but even that was usurped through the pandemic.