[ACNS source: Episcopal Relief and Development] The Revd Carl Harris, an Episcopal priest and a consultant for Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), went to Iraq in June to assess the needs of people in the country following the war. Mr Harris, who has worked with nongovernmental organisations in Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda and Vietnam, described Iraq as a very dangerous place. "I saw the challenges many families face and how they experience daily life in Baghdad and Mosul," he said.
As part of ERD's long-term response to the needs of the people in Iraq, Mr Harris evaluated the immediate needs of the most vulnerable Iraqi people. He visited the home of a blind, elderly woman in Mosul. "She lived in a one room apartment and had no resources," he said. "She had no family and depended on food from a local church."
Others that Mr Harris visited described how they are constantly living in fear. "Many Iraqis are reluctant to leave their homes for fear of being viciously mugged," he said. "Other people don't want to leave their houses unguarded, since they are targets of opportunity for looters."
ERD is providing assistance to people who have limited access to food in Mosul and Baghdad and supplying food through a partnership with World Concern and Manara Ministries in Iraq. An initial contribution of US$25,000 in emergency assistance is helping people in Iraq receive critical food supplies.
"The current challenges to peace in Iraq are significant, but ERD is committed to getting humanitarian assistance to those in need," said Mary Becchi, Deputy Director of Program and Program Planning. "We remain focused on addressing the basic human needs of Iraqis by providing food assistance, medical supplies, clean water, and sanitation systems. ERD prays for peace for the Iraqi people and reconstruction of their land."
As the official development agency of the Episcopal Church, USA, Episcopal Relief and Development provides immediate assistance to people in the midst of crisis. ERD has a history of serving as an effective, reliable and vital ministry of the Episcopal Church in communities around the world.
To learn more about ERD's work worldwide, visit www.er-d.org.