“I hope to resume my work in the fields after the floodwater drains away, so that I can put food on the table.”
That was the wish of a flood-affected farmer in the southern Indian state of Kerala. In August 2018, a devastating flood struck Kerala causing over 480 deaths and an economic loss of US$2.8 billion. As the flood victims go through a difficult time of recovery from natural disaster, CEDAR reached out and provided relief aid to them through EFICOR*, our long-term partner in India. Until 27 November 2018, 13,060 families have been benefited from our support. They received relief materials included rice, cooking oil, bath soaps, clothes, and bed-sheets, enough for each household’s use for 1.5 months**.
Recent conflict has left thousands dead and 800,000 people homeless in Central African Republic (CAR), while 250,000 fled to neighbouring countries–Cameroon, Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than half the population, about 2.5 million people, are in urgent need of food, water, sanitation and healthcare.
The latest chapter in CAR’s history of violence dated its cause in December 2012, when Seleka – a coalition of predominantly Muslim rebel forces – was formed, and it eventually brought the president Francois Bozizé down from power in March 2013. Under the governance of Michel Djotodia, who is the leader of Seleka claimng himself the President of CAR between March 2013 to January 2014, rebellion and waves of lawlessness are seen, and in the absence of police and other state security forces, the largely Christian population in villages across the north has to form self-defence units called ‘anti-balaka’.
A lady seeking refuge in a Catholic sanctuary told her story, that Seleka forces came and razed her entire village, murdering her husband, slashing other family members with a machete and killing five of her neighbours. However, the self-defence units are no less vicious that the former rebels. ‘The anti-balaka came and attacked our house at 5am. They caught my husband on the veranda and sliced him on the head, the side, and the back with a machete when holding him’, another lady added.
A new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, was elected in January 2014 and has called on all sides to show their support for the interim administration by laying down their arms.
Tearfund UK, a member of Integral Alliance*, told us that the needs are just overwhelming. ‘The people are trying to survive from these horrific experiences against the historical context of very high vulnerability due to chronic poverty, marginalisation, neglect and exploitation. Needs for clean water and sanitation, healthcare, food security, shelter and protection are real and immense. Trauma is widespread thus psycho-social needs are huge given the recent gratuitous violence. There is and will be a need for peace-building and reconciliation at all levels of this now deeply fractured society, pointing to a need for long term engagement for real change and transformation.’ [Tearfund UK(1), Tearfund UK(2), IRIN(1), IRIN(2), IRIN(3),]
Meditate on Scriptures:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Matthew 6:9b-10
If you were born in the midst of war and conflict, and if you witnessed, even suffered from violence and cruelty, would you stay or go?
If you hear about the devastations caused by warfires and are told about the dire state where the masses there are in, will you do something or not?
We often pray, ‘May your kingdom come!’ but have we prepared ourselves to participate in this heavenly project? Let us continue praying, ‘May your kingdom come’ but at the same time prepare ourselves to participate in it, in prayer as well as action!
Pray for CAR:
Pray for Catherine Samba-Panza, the new Interim President of CAR, for wisdom, protection, perseverance and a good team around her as she starts working for peace.
Pray that the women and girls would be kept safe, especially those who are vulnerable to sexual assaults, those who staying in their homes, and those who are now living with thousands of others in the refugee camps.
Pray for security, insight, wisdom and deep peace to the frontline workers of Tearfund UK and other aid agencies in the midst of crisis.
Pray that the international community will keep its promise to ensure the continuation of humanitarian and peacekeeping work in CAR, so that the vulnerable can be protected and peace be restored.
* Integral Alliance is a global alliance comprising of 19 Christian relief and development agencies, working together to deliver a more effective response to poverty worldwide. CEDAR is one of the member agencies.
[ePrayer – Pray for water and sanitation in the world]
Water and sanitation, which is fundamental to fighting disease and poverty, are included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year, it was said that the world had reached the target of access to improved sources of water, but water quality to a large degree still fails to meet basic UN World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Roughly 80 per cent of global wastewater from human settlements or industrial sources is discharged untreated, contaminating oceans, lakes and rivers. Sanitation is the most lagging of the MDGs. Meeting the target would involve reducing the proportion of people without access to sanitation from more than half, to 25 per cent by 2015. However, more than 2.5 billion people around the world still have no adequate sanitation and of these one billion practice open defecation. Poor sanitation also has a big impact on the safety and well-being of women and girls; the day-to-day humiliation and risks faced by women and girls without access to appropriate sanitation facilities have been demonstrated time and again. Therefore, renewed international cooperation on water management and access to adequate sanitation is needed. [UN News]
Pray for water and sanitation in the world :
Pray for greater international cooperation on working towards sustainable solutions and measures to improve water management and sanitation;
Remember the needs and situations of those without clean and safe water and adequate sanitation, especially vulnerable women and girls.