Media CenterCrisis in Iraq

Yezidi families fled the advance of Islamic State forces in Sinjar and found shelter under a bridge in the Kurdish city of Duhok. Photo by Hawre Khalid / Metrogra

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Crisis in Iraq

Armed conflict in Iraq has escalated since January 2014, uprooting an estimated 2.6 million people. Many families describe fleeing at a moment’s notice after learning that ISIS was nearing their cities and towns. Civilians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have been targeted and displaced.

In addition to the massive number of internally displaced Iraqis, the country is hosting some 230,000 refugees from Syria who have sought help mainly in the northern Kurdistan region.

Families in desperate need continue to arrive, straining local resources. Most are staying in abandoned and dilapidated buildings. Three-quarters of displaced children are not attending school.

CRS Response

CRS and Caritas Iraq are supporting families with essential food, living supplies and shelter improvements.

We have:

  • Reached 88,000 displaced Iraqis with emergency assistance in Dohuk governorate
  • Distributed vouchers redeemable in the local market for food to 2,500 families each month
  • Winterized 1,132 buildings that provide shelter to almost 30,000 people, and continued work on 200 more buildings

CRS and Caritas are expanding child support centers—large tented areas that provide counseling, recreational activities and tutoring—to keep children engaged so they can heal and eventually transition to formal schooling. The centers have reached more than 1,100 children, with 10 more centers planned.


Rebekah Kates Lemke


Rebekah Kates Lemke
August 4, 2015

Rebekah Kates Lemke is the senior content developer/strategist for Catholic Relief Services. Previously, she was a web producer, branded content writer and editor for CRS and worked in television news for 15 years. She is based in Baltimore, Maryland.More