“World Renew has been monitoring the situation in CAR since December. It is becoming increasingly clear that as conflict and violence continue across the country, World Renew will need to respond,” said Wayne de Jong, Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation for World Renew.
Last March, a Muslim rebel group, the Seleka, took power in this majority-Christian country sparking a series of violent protests and political clashes. The country descended into unprecedented chaos in December, with death tolls spiking into the hundreds daily.
Today, innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence. Because they are assumed to be connected with the Seleka, Muslim families are particularly at risk of slaughter, rape, and other forms of vicious treatment from their Christian and non-Muslim neighbors. As a result of this violence, some Seleka members are also regrouping to attack Christian areas.
Recent tallies estimate that of the 4.6 million people who call CAR their home, 2.5 million (54%) are in need of assistance.
Thousands have been killed over the past year and nearly one million have been displaced from their homes. Living in temporary shelter both within CAR and in neighboring countries, they are in desperate need of food and other assistance. They also face many health risks that result from overcrowded camp conditions. Some are literally trapped in small safe havens of the capital city, Bangui. They are unable to leave for fear of being killed as soon as they do.
World Renew’s partners in the ACT Alliance and Integral Alliance are already on the ground in CAR assessing needs and providing emergency aid. World Renew will support these efforts and provide urgently needed supplies to vulnerable families. This may include the provision of food, water, sanitation and hygiene in camps for internally displaced people.
“Situations like the one in CAR are difficult for us to comprehend. We don’t understand the history or why people choose to react in violence against each other. What we do know is that now is the time for the love of Christ to shine even more brightly,” said de Jong. “We need to remind people that the Christian God is a God of love, not violence. The global church can and should be a place of safety, love and assistance.”
Funding is urgently needed to enable World Renew to support this life-saving response in the Central African Republic.
(choose Central African Republic Conflict from the International Disaster Response category)
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Image: A girl looks up at the back of a truck as she prepares to flee sectarian violence with other Muslim families in a convoy escorted by African Union (AU) peacekeepers towards the border with Cameroon, in the town of Bouar, west of the Central African Republic March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola