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Nov 14, 2019 - Tristan Azbej

The largest majority Christian city in Iraq is being rebuilt thanks to Hungarian-American cooperation

The Hungary Helps Program reached an important milestone joining forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The author of this guest post is Tristan Azbej, Hungary's State Secretary responsible for the Hungary Helps Program.

We will work together with our American partners on coordinated projects in the city of Qaraqosh, the next step in our formal partnership. The city suffered for years under the brutal reign of the Islamic State terrorist organization, which forced tens of thousands of innocent people to leave their homes. Situated 20 miles southeast of Mosul, Qaraqosh is the largest city in Iraq with a Christian majority.

The government of Hungary has provided over $3.1 million through its humanitarian program dedicated to persecuted Christians, called Hungary Helps, to help restore homes, rehabilitate a school, provide psychosocial care, and reconstruct water networks in the Qaraqosh area, enabling several hundred internally displaced families to return to and remain in their homeland.

The USAID joined our efforts and recently announced a new project that will be implemented through the Assyrian Aid Society to help restore St. George's Commercial Center in order to rehabilitate hundreds of locally owned shops damaged by the Islamist terrorists.

We are also working together to help the Yazidi community of Iraq. Thousands of innocent Yazidis were murdered in the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing, which forced the exodus of nearly half a million people belonging to the ethno-religious group. The Hungarian government supports reconstruction work in the Sinjar region, which was the Yazidi heartland prior to the conflict.

USAID also provides help to one of our local partners, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad’s initiative to improve the delivery of electricity in Sinjar City and the surrounding villages.

As the state secretary overseeing the Hungary Helps Program, I can proudly announce that after months of hard work, we have finalized our cooperation, which has the potential to bring hope to those who are in need and the opportunity to restart their lives in their homeland without the risk of being persecuted because of their religion.