By Sarah Kearney
05/25/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In 2014, ISIS stormed onto the international stage with brutal, violent, and merciless rage, intent on establishing an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. Militants punished any group that challenged their authority, including Christians. In August 2014, ISIS invaded Qeraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, and over the course of two years has destroyed most of its homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Such destruction has left families with nothing to restart their lives.
Since ISIS’s initial attacks, International Christian Concern (ICC) has actively led initiatives to serve displaced Christians. Now that Qeraqosh is ISIS-free, we are helping to rebuild. Progress is slow but hopeful. ICC spoke with Dr. Rabee, a Christian resident of Qeraqosh, to find out how ICC could best serve displaced Christians who are returning home. He told ICC that he believes Qeraqosh’s residents will return if they have three things: security, water, and electricity.
ICC found 15 families who recently moved back to Qeraqosh and were using the dirty water that the government just turned back on. While it is positive that the water is back on, the water is dirty and inconsistent. Qeraqosh’s water is sourced from Mosul and if Mosul needs more water, it will shut off Qeraqosh’s access first because it is a Christian village.
Returning families needed water that was cleaner and more reliable. After meeting with the families, ICC built a well that would provide them with clean water for washing and cleaning. ICC’s local representative found a well location, purchased the necessary equipment, and oversaw the building process.
The families are grateful for clean water. Essam, one of the beneficiaries of the new well, said, “I work as cook for the NPU and the well water is suitable for everything except drinking so still the NPU is providing drinking water for us.” He continued, “Thank you for taking this step and digging the well.”
Firas said, “At the beginning the water was not clean, and comes for 15 minutes and gone for 5 minutes, but now it’s stable.” He continued, “I have olive trees on our garden, although ISIS burnt the house, but some of them [are] still alive, so the well is helping to give water to those trees, [life] is getting back.” This is a major step to getting the people of Qeraqosh back into their homes after ISIS forced them to flee.
ICC will continue to seek ways to provide additional wells for families that return to Qeraqosh. Obviously, more than just water is needed, so please continue to pray that God will provide the necessary resources for Qeraqosh’s residents. We hope that you will continue to partner with ICC in our rebuilding efforts.