Königstein, Germany, 12.05.2017 – Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is embarking on a campaign for the reconstruction of the Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains, which were destroyed by the fighters of the so-called Islamic State. It will take an estimated 250 million dollars to rebuild the almost 13,000 private homes of Christian families that were burned, looted or even totally demolished by the occupying forces of IS. At the same time it will also be necessary to rebuild public and communal structures such as churches, schools and other educational centers.
Mr. Johannes Freiherr Heereman, The Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need
The executive president of ACN, Mr. Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck, is appealing to the entire international community: “We are confronting an enormous and historical challenge in defending the Christians and the other religious minorities in Iraq and in making it possible for them to return to their former homes, thereby re-establishing international rights. What is needed is an effort on the part of the entire international community, of every organization, whether religious, humanitarian or political, that is capable of supporting and promoting the reconstruction program on Nineveh Plains, together with ACN.”
In order to be able to plan and oversee the reconstruction program, the “Nineveh Reconstruction Committee” (NRC), was established on 27 March this year in Erbil. It includes representatives of the three main Christian Churches in the area, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church, plus three expert advisers nominated by ACN.
“It will take on average 7,000 dollars to repair a lightly damaged house, and 2,500 dollars to make one habitable”, explains Father Salar Boudagh, the vicar general of the Chaldean diocese of Alqosh and a member of the reconstruction committee. ACN has already made available half a million dollars for rebuilding the first batch of houses in the villages of Bartella, Karamless and Baghdeda (Qaraqosh), and on 8 May this year ACN formally opened the first three building sites in these villages for the first 105 houses of Christian families currently living as internal refugees (officially, “internally displaced persons”, or IDPs).
In the coming months, ACN will be knocking on the doors of governments, institutions and other humanitarian organizations, asking them to take part in the fund raising campaign.