Thousands Of Chad Christians Face Starvation
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
N’DJAMENA (Worthy News) – Thousands of Christian families are “homeless and destitute” in Chad after the worst flooding in decades and terrorism, Christian aid workers told Worthy News.
Barnabas Fund, a Christian relief group working in the country through local partners, said that by “God’s grace” gifts and prayers, it hopes to feed 4,000 Christian families.
They “have been made homeless and destitute, whether by floods or by terrorists, that is, around 25,000 people,” the group added. It said it was raising funds as 50 kilograms of maize for one family costs $24.
Barnabas Fund said it was focusing its efforts on the “Leo Chiefdom” area, where flooding hit a Christian community that was still recovering from recent terror attacks which killed dozens.
Suspected Islamic fighters attacked seven villages in the Leo Chiefdom, causing many Christians to flee, according to Christian aid workers. “When they later made their way back to their home villages, they found each other, but their houses were gone. The terrorists had set fire to hundreds of homes, many grain stores, and five church buildings. They also killed 50 villagers and wounded many more,” Barnabas Fund explained.
It wasn’t immediately clear who was responsible for the recent bloodshed, but advocacy group Open Doors said “Islamic extremism is on the rise” in Chad “mainly by the presence of [terror group] Boko Haram.”
Ironically, the “brick walls” of a church in Leo Chiefdom “survived when the terrorists set fire to it, but the thatched roof has vanished,” Barnabas Fund said, citing local sources.
Yet, Barnabas Fund told Worthy News that after the attacks, “another blow fell on this grieving and desolate community, as the heaviest rains for 32 years brought devastating floods.”
Some homes “that had survived the terrorists were destroyed by the extreme weather, which also drowned cattle and obliterated growing crops,” the group confirmed. It cited a local church leader as saying that the “population needs food.”
In remarks shared with Worthy News, the church leader noted that “people move from one village to another in the area by canoe as the level of water in some areas is up to the chest of a tall adult person.“
The name of the Christian wasn’t identified amid security concerns in the deeply impoverished nation.
Mud houses collapsed in the floods, leaving nothing but their straw roofs, according to Christians familiar with the situation. “Those same straw roofs would have burnt easily in a terrorist attack,” Barnabas Fund said.
Local churches in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, “have given what they could for their suffering brothers and sisters. Their gift brought encouragement but hardly began to meet the scale of the need. They asked for ‘more prayers to survive,” Barnabas Fund explained.
Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency over the flooding that he said was affecting more than a million people in his country. It came as he faced anti-government protests in which at least 60 people were killed Thursday, several sources said.
The unrest and severe flooding in the Muslim-majority Central African country have added to difficulties for minority Christians who also face terrorism and other persecution, suggested Christian relief workers.