Podcast

Bishop William Kenney discusses conditions in Iraqi refugee camps

19/05/2015 3:52 pm

Bishop Kenney meets a young refugee in a camp in Iraq in 2015

Bishop William Kenney has just returned from Iraq where he visited over ten refugee camps housing those who have fled from both the advance of Daesh (ISIL) and the bloody conflict across the border in Syria.

Predominantly for Christians, with some refugees of other minority faiths, the camps are serving well but are, unsurprisingly, overcrowded.

"The big problem [the refugees] are facing is severe overcrowding. A flat that was meant for one family, for instance, there are three families.

"They have tried to put families together who have some relationship with each other but even so overcrowding is the major problem and we are beginining already to see the effects of that."

"I was amazed at the advances that have been made in such a short period of time. It's unusual with refugees to have made this sort of progress. There are some exceptions - that's normal - but the money [donated] is most definitely being well used - both on the humanitarian side and on the spiritual side.

"All of the camps - the bigger ones - had their own chapels. There were priests available and also, very frequently, religious sisters - the Dominican sisters there are doing excellent work.

"It is a humanitarian crisis but the Church is also trying to make sure that that doesn't lead to a spiritual crisis"

Bishop Kenney, an Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, was visiting Iraq at the invitation of Aid to the Church in Need from 13 - 17 May 2015.

Duration: 10m 28s

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You can find out more about Aid to the Church in Need or make a donation on the official site.