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ICC Note: For the more than 100,000 Christians and over 1 million others displaced from their homes, the brutal Iraqi winter may prove to be a death sentence. As the jihadists of the Islamic state swept through Iraq they emptied entire towns and villages of their Christians for the first time in centuries. Now living in makeshift shelters the intense rain and dropping temperatures make the situation incredibly dire.

10/21/2014 Iraq (Christian Today) – Religious minorities in Iraq are in more danger than ever as winter approaches, a Catholic charity has warned.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis forced to live in makeshift tents after fleeing ISIS face freezing conditions as temperatures are expected to soon plunge below zero.

“There is an absolutely overwhelming need…people cannot be expected to survive in tents,” John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) told Christian Today.

Pontifex, who returned from Iraq earlier this month, said:

“These people left their homes with nothing other than the shirts on their backs. They need warm clothes, housing, schools, and they need greater protections to ensure that they don’t fall to the mercy of extreme militants.”

Yesterday, at a special meeting of cardinals, Secretary of State for the Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolin warned that a “new genocide” could well take place in northern Iraq and Syria, where ISIS are gaining control of towns and cities in a bid to create a caliphate.

Parolin said that greater humanitarian aid is needed, and protections put in place to allow Christians in particular to continue living in their homeland, rather than being forced to flee abroad.

There has been debate regarding the best way to help those affected by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The Archbishop of Canterbury last month called on Western governments to “provide relief and safety for those displaced and in fear of their lives”.

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