Iraq’s Mustafa Al Kadhimi hosts orphans for iftar during Ramadan

More than 800,000 children were orphaned by the Iraq war, according to a US foundation

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi on Wednesday hosted a group of children orphaned by war for an iftar meal at his residence in Baghdad.

Decades of war in Iraq orphaned thousands of children and the 2014-2017 war against ISIS deepened the issue.

“On this blessed month, I call on our people to mark it as an occasion for friendship and unity in the viewpoint of our love for Iraq,” Mr Al Kadhimi said on the first day of Ramadan.

“I am confident that the near future will be filled with progress, with work, brotherhood, self-sacrifice, and giving priority to the interests of our Iraq,” he said.

During the holy month, Muslims worldwide abstain from food and drink during daylight hours and break their fast with the iftar evening meal.

According to the Iraqi Children Foundation, the largest charity in the US devoted exclusively to advocacy and support for Iraq's children, more than 800,000 were made orphans as a result of the Iraq War and 1.3 million were displaced after ISIS's occupation of the country.

One in five Iraqi children work to support their families or themselves, and 80 per cent of all Iraqi children experience violence at home or in school, the foundation said.

Iraq is facing another challenge, the coronavirus pandemic. The country last week recorded the highest number of daily cases, more than 8,300 infections.

Official numbers show that 7,972 new coronavirus cases were recorded on Wednesday, raising total nationwide infections to 949,050.

Nearly 14,800 people have died according to official data. A lack of testing means the true number of infections is thought to be much higher.