The St. Raphael Cathedral near the Lebanese capital has added more than 1,400 Iraqi refugee families from Mosul alone to its aid rosters since July, all of them having fled the city now occupied by Islamic State fighters.
On Tuesday, several of the uprooted families stood in line at the cathedral in Baabda southeast of Beirut””the seat of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Lebanon””waiting for a food handout. As Rev. Youssef Denha ””himself a refugee from Iraq””flipped through the pages of the ledger where he tracked each handout, he set aside any pretense of seasonal optimism.
“This is a holiday of sadness, not happiness. Daesh has left us with nothing,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.