QARAQOSH, Iraq – If home is where the heart is, what happens when you are forced to leave your home, then return to find it destroyed?
That is what has happened to Christians under siege in Iraq returning to their homes in Qaraqosh on the Plains of Nineveh in the aftermath of the conflict with ISIS militants. They found their homes partially or completely destroyed. If home is where the heart is, these Iraqi Christians returned home broken-hearted and disheartened.
When ISIS invaded, Christians were faced with a clear choice: “Convert, leave, or die.” Regardless of their choice, the militants’ strategy was consistent – demolish and destroy everything, especially any evidence of Christianity.
Once ISIS forces were driven out, residents returned to rubble where their houses once stood.
Open Doors, in association with other NGOs and local partners, have begun the process of restoring and rebuilding homes the ISIS had laid to waste. At this point, nearly 700 homes have been reconstructed as the project to make Qaraqosh beautiful again progresses.
One of the project’s organizers explained, “We divided the town into 10 districts, each starting with a letter followed by a number. After that, a team of experts visited the houses to assess the damage and make a strong estimate of the money needed to restore the house.”
The building of homes was prioritized by proximity to a church so that a sense of community could also be reestablished. The letters (A, B, & C) assigned in the alphanumeric nomenclature of each home during the two-month long survey graded each sight by its need.
A = Completely destroyed
B = Partly burned or estimated repair greater than $5,000 USD
C = Cost to rebuild under $5,000 USD
The successful strategic plan has been to rebuild the least costly homes first. This allows for more homes to be rebuilt with the available funds. It also means that more families are able to return.
The project continues with the hope that residents will have new homes and new hopes for their families.
- The Christian Post, Open Doors Rebuilds Nearly 700 Christian Homes Destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh Plains
- Open Doors, In Iraq’s Ninevah Plain, God Is Doing A ‘New Thing’–678 Homes Restored with Your Help
- International Christian Concern, ICC Provides Food and Clothing for Persecuted Christians in IDP Camp