Ministries and aid organizations respond to latest upheaval in Darfur

darfurEvents in Sudan this week have left Darfur relief agencies—including many Christian organizations—worried and uncertain about what the future holds for millions of displaced people in that war-torn region.

Last week, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Sudanese government responded by expelling numerous aid organizations from Darfur, a move that has many worried about what will now happen to the millions of people who depend on aid brought it via those organizations. A recent Mission Network News article reports on the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, which does work in Darfur and has not (yet) been expelled:

The Sudanese government is having a difficult time filling the gaps left when Sudan expelled 13 aid groups. This was done in response to the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue a warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, charging him with war crimes for the Darfur conflict. […]

Even though CRWRC is still there, they can’t make up the difference the 13 groups were contributing. Little says many were involved in water and food projects. “If in fact they do have to leave, it will just enhance the suffering and increase the suffering of many, many, many people in Darfur.”

Franklin Graham and the Samaritan’s Purse ministry are heavily involved in relief work in Darfur, and have posted a short article about the crisis. An article in the Guardian discusses the expulsions’ impact, noting that “about 4.7 million people rely on food, medical or water aid in Darfur, including 2.7 million people displaced by fighting. The expelled organisations carry out at least 50 per cent of the work there.”

And in a bleak new development, several aid workers in Sudan have been kidnapped, leading to the withdrawal of the Doctors Without Borders organization from the country.

There’s no doubt it’s a messy and chaotic situation—the politics of the ongoing Darfur crisis are complex and defy easy understanding. (For a brief overview of the situation, see this Q&A about the Darfur conflict from the BBC and the War in Darfur Wikipedia entry.) But it’s a good time for Christians to focus their prayers on the millions of people who eke out tenuous existences in Darfur displacement camps and who will bear the brunt of this recent flurry of political events. If you know of an organization or ministry at work in Darfur, they can almost certainly use your prayers and support.

[Photo shows a Darfur refugee camp in Chad. Taken by Mark Knobil and used under a Creative Commons license.]

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