Conflicts in Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia have brought a surge of refugees seeking safety for themselves and their families. Innocent people—parents, children, and the elderly—have fled their homes, bringing little with them. Many depend entirely on the mercy of others.
The last decade brought a dramatic increase of displaced people around the world. The number of people who fled their homes due to conflict, famine, and persecution nearly doubled from 40 million to almost 80 million.
In September 2020, fighting erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet Union republics in the Caucasus region. Many homes were destroyed and lives lost as fighting raged for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a land parcel between the two countries. Fighting over this land has happened sporadically for decades.
One family told of fleeing their farm as soldiers took over. As they fled, the father used binoculars to see what was happening. He watched as the soldiers killed his flock of one hundred sheep.
“Armenia is reeling from war,” CAM staff members reported after a recent trip to Armenia. “Everyone knows someone who was killed in the conflict . . . These people left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing . . . They literally need everything—food, shelter, jobs, kitchen utensils, and furniture.” As a result of the great needs, local Christians say there has seldom been a time that people are so open to the Gospel.
A civil war has broken out in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populated country. Thousands are displaced and millions in urgent need. Women and children arrive in surrounding countries with horrific stories of the violence they experienced. Sadly, many never make it out of the conflict zone. Contacts in Ethiopia are reaching out to those affected by this conflict with a special focus on helping children, who make up nearly half of the refugees.
In West Africa, refugees from the Ivory Coast are streaming into Liberia. Political tension stemming from a recent presidential election has erupted into deadly violence.
CAM staff members in Liberia visited a community bordering the Ivory Coast to provide aid for refugees seeking safety. This town already struggled under poverty and is unable to accommodate the recent flood of people. “Many women and children were seen under trees . . . trying to manage,” reported our staff.
In the past several years, nearly 1 million Rohingyas, a Muslim people group, fled Myanmar as their people were ruthlessly slaughtered. The makeshift homes they built in Bangladesh have now become the largest refugee camp in the world. We are helping to operate a medical clinic for the Rohingyas. The quality care at the clinic gives a glimmer of hope to these people who have suffered much and face an uncertain future.
Nine years ago, the peace and prosperity of Syria were shattered. Today cities lie in ruins and people are scattered across Syria and neighboring countries. Ongoing violence dispels any hope for peace, making normal life only a distant memory for many adults. The past year brought even greater misery as economic collapse and COVID lockdowns took jobs and slashed the value of money. Now many aid organizations are forced to give less help due to limited funding. We sense an urgency to provide help for those who are in greater need than ever before.
If you wish to help refugees in these locations as well as others we may encounter throughout 2021, your support will be a great blessing. Funds will be used to provide food, emergency aid, Christian literature, and other help. Your compassion causes recipients to stop and ask, “Who provided this help? Why did they do it? Why are Christians helping us?” This, in turn, is pointing many to the Light.
God bless you!
Christian Aid Ministries | January 2021
Slider photos: Refugee woman in Armenia and destroyed building in Syria.