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Lebanese church struggles to support Iraqi refugees

The Chaldean church in Hazmiyeh, Lebanon, is doing all it can to help Iraqi Christian refugees flooding into the country.
An Iraqi Christian refugee girl holds a souvenir of the Holy Family as a boy looks on at a church in Hazmiyeh, near Beirut December 12, 2014. Christian leaders led the service for around 600 Iraqi Christian refugees, many of them children and the elderly. Iraqi Christians who sought refuge in Lebanon after Islamist militants tore through their homeland said they had no idea when they would be able to return as they gathered for prayers ahead of Christmas. Picture taken December 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

BEIRUT — Over 200 Iraqi refugees gathered at the Chaldean church in Hazmiyeh, just 6 kilometers (4 miles) outside of Beirut on the morning of March 17 to receive aid from In Defense of Christians, an American group that aims to assist in the cultural preservation of Christianity in the Middle East.

In recent months, thousands of Iraqis have flooded into Lebanon, and nearly 3,000 families have reported to the Chaldean church. “It’s been a disaster,” Father Denha Youssef told Al-Monitor. Of those who have come to the church, Youssef has personally visited over 700 families.

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