Known as the "cradle of civilization," Iraq has a rich history of agriculture, writing and recordkeeping, as well as cultural development. For much of its history, however, Iraq has also been embroiled in war. Sectarian violence stemming from the U.S. invasion in 2003 has resulted in widespread destruction, displacement, trauma and poverty. More than 2 million Iraqis have left the country in fear, seeking refuge in surrounding states. Within Iraq, another 2 million people are displaced. Every month, the number rises as an estimated 60,000 Iraqis flee their homes.
Catholic Relief Services began providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Our support continues today through coordination with local partners, including Caritas Iraq and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Together, we ensure displaced and impoverished families receive food, medicines and first aid, health and nutrition care for mothers and infants, and assistance with peaceful conflict resolution. In neighboring countries like Syria and Lebanon, we help Iraqi refugees start new lives.