Fighting is intensifying in the Nineveh province of Iraq, with the aim of retaking the city of Mosul from militants. The population of Mosul is estimated at more than 1 million civilians. For the most part, they have been cut off from outside access and aid since the area was occupied in 2014.
The U.N. refugee agency anticipates that 600,000 to 1 million people could be displaced by fighting before the end of 2016. Already, hundreds are fleeing daily, seeking safety in camps.
Pray for children and families caught up in conflict
Possibly half of the civilians affected by the conflict are children. Says World Vision’s Wynn Flaten, response director for the Syria crisis: “Those who have been in Mosul have potentially witnessed unspeakable horrors of conflict not once, but many times over – seeing firsthand a time of turbulence that would be difficult for even most adults to handle.”
Please pray that families in contested areas of Iraq will be delivered to safety and that children will have the protection and nurture they need.
Dear Loving Father, look with mercy on Your children who are in danger and despair in Iraq. Carry them through conflict to a safe haven. Give them hope and perseverance to meet the challenges ahead.
Ali, 27, his wife, Shaima, 30, and their children fled Gayara, southeast of Mosul, for the Debaga internally displaced people camp in August. “We need the world to help displaced Iraqis,” Shaima says. “If the people from Mosul begin to move, it will be a humanitarian disaster.” (©2016 World Vision/photo by Suzy Sainovski)
Pray for humanitarians who provide aid to people fleeing Mosul
A military offensive to retake Mosul could result in a massive displacement of civilians and trigger this year’s largest relief operation. Aid to displaced Iraqis is already underfunded, so humanitarian agencies are struggling to prepare for as many as 1 million more people in need. Newly displaced families will need food, water, shelter, protection, psychological support.
Please pray that aid workers will be safe and have the resources and resolve to meet the challenges ahead.
Dear Lord of all, we ask your protection for those who prepare and carry out aid operations for newly-displaced children and families in Iraq. Inspire and equip them to provide sanctuary and aid. Strengthen their will and give them resources adequate to the task.
A recent World Vision aid distribution at Debaga camp meets ongoing needs of displaced families. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Chris Weeks)
Pray for leaders and decision-makers to promote peace
In the two years since the current conflict began, 10 million Iraqis have been affected by fighting, and 3.2 million people are already displaced. The world is watching as pressure increases to free Mosul from militants. Multiple nations and groups have a stake in the future of the contested region.
Please pray that mercy and peace will be foremost in the minds of leaders who make decisions affecting displaced families in Iraq.
Benevolent and merciful God, we find hope in the words of Leviticus: I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid (Leviticus 26:6). Give wisdom and courage to those in authority. Bring peace in our time Lord, and help us to be agents of Your mercy.