Under pressure from Vice President Mike Pence, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will fast-track millions of dollars to help Christians and Yazidis in Iraq who have been victims to ISIS violence, The Washington Post reports.
Ten million dollars will be given to two umbrella groups, including one overseen by Catholic Relief Services, and another $25 million will go toward assisting "persecuted communities" in Iraq. In total, the U.S. will provide more than $100 million to the two religious minorities in the current fiscal year.
"At the direction of the president and vice president, USAID is now redoubling its effort to swiftly deliver and distribute the aid that Iraq's persecuted religious communities desperately need," USAID administrator Mark Green wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week. "The delays must end, and they will."
Pence last week ordered Green to head personally to Iraq "in the coming weeks" and return with a plan to address a slowdown in aid delays.
"Restoring the rights and property of Iraq's Christian and Yazidi communities, who were nearly wiped out by ISIS's genocidal campaign against them, is a top and unceasing priority" of the administration, Pence said in a statement.
Pence in October said Trump ordered the State Department to stop funding "ineffective" United Nations relief efforts and instead go through USAID and faith-based groups directly.
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