One Christian family a month is leaving the southern Iraqi city of Basra in the face of violence and increasing tension on the streets.
Only 10% of the once 3,000-strong Christian community remains in Basra, though its community has not suffered the same level of persecution as in the north of Iraq, where Christian communities in the Nineveh plains were targeted in a campaign of genocide by Islamic State.
“In general, at least one family a month leaves,” said Basra church leader Alnaufali Habib Jajou.
Poor conditions in the city, where more than 20 people have been killed since July in street demonstrations against growing unemployment, water shortages and corruption, were causing the families to flee.
However, despite the violence, the Christian community is embarking on celebrations for Advent: “We will continue to celebrate, families will continue to meet in small groups in individual apartments, for prayers and meetings.”