ASIA/IRAQ - A year ago ISIS expelled Christians from the Nineveh plain

Baghdad - "It was horrible. I will never forget the terror imprinted on the face of tens of thousands of people. They were convinced that Isis would have killed them". Rami, 22 years old, is one of the Christian refugees welcomed at the Mar Elias center, a refugee camp run by the Church in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the young man reports to Aid to the Church in Need that tragic night between 6 and 7 August 2014, when he and his family had to flee from Qaraqosh together with other 60 thousand Christians . "When the Kurdish army withdrew we knew that no one would ever defend the Caliphate. I was so afraid that in the haste to escape I also left my documents at home".
Rami’s family arrived in Erbil at 1am. "The city was full of refugees and during the first days we slept in the garden of the Church of St. Elias. Only a few weeks after we moved in a tent". Like many other Iraqi Christians, the young man was not new to the status of refugee, since he moved to Qaraqosh in January 2014. "We had left Mosul because the city had become too dangerous – he says - The Jihadists had abducted several Christians and we feared for our lives". Today Rami and his family live in the "Father Werenfried Village" in one of 150 prefabricated structures donated by Aid to the Church in Need.
Since June 2014 to date, ACN has carried out projects in favor of Iraqi Christians for a total of over 8 million euro. In recent days, the foundation has approved an additional contribution of 2 million euro, for six months' rent of accommodation where thousands of Christian refugees live.
After one year since their escape, the Church remains the only benchmark of Iraqi Christians. "We try to keep the faithful always busy, especially the boys", says Father Douglas Bazi, the Chaldean priest who directs the center in Mar Elia. "Every day refugees lose their hope to return home, but in spite of everything they have never lost faith in the future. August 6 is for us a day of sorrow, but also of hope. Because it is the day that God saved us".
Aid to the Church in Need has launched today, August 6th, an international day of prayer to remember the first anniversary of the flight of 120 thousand Christians from the Nineveh Plain. You can join the campaign via the hashtag #PrayForIraq and #WeAreChristians.