Catholic charity to rebuild 2,000 homes for Christians refugees returning to Iraq

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need will shell out 3.6 million British pounds to help 2,000 Christian refugees returning to Iraq's Nineveh Plains rebuild their homes after the Islamic State was defeated in the region.

(REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed)Workers remove rubble during the rebuilding of a building destroyed during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic state fighters, eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 21, 2017.

The money given by ACN will help in the renovation of 1,500 houses in Qaraqosh while 500 homes in Bartella, Bashiqua, and Bahzani will also be rebuilt. The Chaldean, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic Churches established the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee to supervise the rebuilding project, The Tablet detailed.

The NRC has completed the renovation of almost 3,000 houses in the region since it began in March 2017. ACN financed the rebuilding of 784 of those homes.

ACN's Middle East head Father Andrzej Halemba expressed joy at the return of 35 percent of the Iraqi Christians. However, he acknowledged that there were still challenges to surmount, including the ISIS extremist ideas that had already penetrated some sections of the community.

"It will be possible to achieve the greater objective – namely, to restore 6,000 houses – only if we provide concrete aid together with other players and only if this region is not left to its own devices," Father Halemba added. "This would enable at least each second displaced person of the Christian minority to return."

Meanwhile, Iraq's minister of planning, Salman Al-Jameeli, said $88.2 billion is required to rebuild the areas destroyed in the battle against ISIS. They will need to allot $22.9 billion for the short term reconstruction projects and $65.4 billion for the medium term, CNN reported.

Al-Jameeli's statement was issued during an Iraq donors' conference held in Kuwait on Feb. 13. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was present during the conference, asked for the help of the anti-ISIS coalition in rebuilding Iraq.

In addition, Tillerson said leaving Iraq and Syria in their devastated conditions would open these places to situations that let the extremist group take over large swathes of land. He also shared the U.S. would allot another $200 million for the stabilization efforts in Syria.