On the run from Islamic State: Refugees in Northern Iraq Need Blankets, Heaters and a School

January 27, 2015

Shelter Now is appealing for donations for a Christian aid project in Iraqi Kurdistan


Shelter Now is supporting a project designed to provide blankets and oil-powered heaters for 500 families – that’s around 2500 people – to enable them to survive the coming winter. There are also plans to set up a provisional school for 1500 children. The project is being run by a Finnish Christian development organization, FIDA, and Shelter Now is helping to raise funds for it.


Back in August, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the advance of militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, seeking refuge in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. More than 30,000 Christians and Yezidis are estimated to have come to Ankawa, a Christian suburb of the regional capital Erbil. FIDA is partnering with a small church there to implement the aid project.


The church has been very active in providing emergency aid to refugees in recent months. Nearly 500 people have found shelter inside the church or in rented homes and halls. Mattresses and bedding have been provided for several thousand people, and volunteers regularly distribute food packages.

In the winter months, the temperatures in Erbil drop almost to freezing point and there is a lot of rain. Warm blankets and heaters are now the most urgent items needed.

  • For 25 Euros, the church can provide blankets for a five-member family

  • An oil heater costs 60 Euros

  • Plus 170 Euro for heating oil to go through the winter.

There are thousands of children amongst the new arrivals in Ankawa, who would love to be able to go back to school. The church plans to set up containers, to provide a makeshift school for around 1500 boys and girls. 45 teachers will be employed – all refugees, mostly from the city of Mosul. They are initially planning to run the school for two years, because right now no one knows if or when the refugees will be able to return to their homes.


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