(Photo) February 2017: Batnaya is a small town situated about 15 km from Mosul.
About 850 Christian families lived here in 2014.
Iraq, Nineveh Plains
More than 12,000 private homes on the Nineveh plains damaged by ISIS
Königstein /Montreal, March 29, 2017 – The Islamic State (ISIS) damaged more than 12,000 private homes in twelve Christian villages on the Nineveh plains. These were the findings of a study initiated by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need. Among those damaged, 669 houses were completely destroyed. The charity estimates the costs for rebuilding will vastly exceed 200 million dollars.
As part of the study, 1,500 families who fled to Erbil from the affected regions were also asked whether they intended to return to the – now liberated – places they had come from. Of these, 1,308 of these responded with 41 percent of the respondents indicating that they wanted to return to their native villages, 46 per cent said that they were considering it.
This represents a considerable difference when compared with a survey also carried out by Aid to the Church in Need last November among 5,762 internally displaced persons. Only 3.28 per cent of the respondents wanted to return to their native villages at that time. Then, the security situation in the liberated region was still fragile and combat operations were ongoing.
The study also showed that 57 per cent of respondents reported that their possessions had been plundered, 22 per cent responded that their houses had been destroyed. The rest could not provide any information on the current condition of their houses and belongings. Slightly over a quarter (25.46 per cent) reported that their papers had been stolen by the terrorists of the Islamic State.
Currently, there are still 14,000 registered families who fled from Mosul and the Nineveh plains living in Erbil. This is approximately equal to 90,000 people, down from originally 120,000 in 2014. Today, 12,000 families continue to depend on humanitarian aid from Aid to the Church in Need.
The study, carried out by Aid to the Church in Need with the help of local church employees, consisted of three parts and is ongoing: first, the damages done to private homes by ISIS was ascertained. The findings of the investigation on the damages to social institutions such as schools and clinics as well as to church buildings will follow.
By Eva-Maria Kolmann, Aid to the Church in Need International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin