World Vision Assists Children Fleeing from Iraq

World Vision Canada has recently launched a combined advocacy and relief effort to assist children and families fleeing to neighbouring countries from Iraq, as violence continues to precipitate the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East in half a century.

World Vision Canada has recently launched a combined advocacy and relief effort to assist children and families fleeing to neighbouring countries from Iraq, as violence continues to precipitate the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East in half a century.

An estimated 50,000 refugees each month are joining the two million Iraqis who have already left their volatile homeland since 2003. Many are struggling to cope without access to health care, legal income, or education for their children in host countries including Jordan and Syria.

Through local partners, World Vision is assisting 10,000 refugees in Jordan with food, basic household items, healthcare and special programmes for children who cannot attend school.

In addition, the relief agency is training Jordanian aid organisations in child protection and programme management, having served vulnerable and impoverished families in the Middle East for three decades.

"The plight of Iraqi refugee children is still largely a hidden crisis, but we want to help change that," says Emmanuel Isch, vice-president of International and Canadian programming for World Vision Canada. "World Vision is calling on the international community to ensure adequate shelter, health, education and other critical services for these children, whose families are increasingly struggling to meet basic needs."

World Vision will present detailed recommendations at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conference in Geneva, April 17 to 18.

The agency will urge donor governments to provide adequate funding to enable the UN and non-governmental organisations to provide aid to vulnerable refugees, and to ensure basic protections, religious freedoms and human rights for Iraqi refugees in their midst.

World Vision will appeal to the international community to ensure that borders in the region are kept open to Iraqi families fleeing life-threatening violence, and that religious minorities and other vulnerable groups are not forced to return.

"We're talking about children who have witnessed violence and death repeatedly in their home country," says Brian Jonson, a Canadian World Vision aid worker in Amman, Jordan. "Now, without education, basic protections or legal employment for their parents, these vulnerable children are facing a future of poverty and disenfranchisement in the region."

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Motivated by Christian faith, it serves all people regardless of religion, race, gender or ethnicity.

More News in World