Central African Republic still ‘highly volatile’

By April 15, 2013

Central African Republic (MNN/LWI) — The United Nations warns that the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to deteriorate.

Massive unrest and large-scale displacement across the country continue nearly three weeks after armed rebels seized power.

"Communities affected by the crisis are in urgent need of food assistance, protection, healthcare, and water and sanitation support, and there are serious concerns about widespread human rights violations across the country," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update.

UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country have also been affected as they had their offices, vehicles, and warehouses looted. Ministry cooperatives were not immune. HCJB Global, partnered with Integrated Community Development International (also known as ICDI), lost a radio station and is struggling to get on the air again.

Living Water International has also been working with ICDI in the region. When rebel forces looted the Bangui offices, they lost more than their innocence. Living Water International's Bob Thorp says, "When they were looted, they (rebels) had taken $100,000 worth (or more) of equipment, tools, supplies, and all of that. It's basically shut down the operation at this point."

At minimum, LWI is trying to raise funds to resupply stolen items for well projects:
• Compressor parts for drill rig: $17,500
• 4 JESUS film mobile projection units: $2,500 each
• 5 camping kits to access remote areas: $1,000 each
• 20 mattresses destroyed in the looting: $75 each

Camping kits? Thorp says when the field teams are working on a well project, they're in remote areas, and the camp onsite until the project is completed. Thorp says they're at a standstill until they can replace their gear, tools, and equipment. "With ICDI this year, we were planning a pilot project, keeping 330 wells operational–without stoppage. Now, this has gone and basically shut off the water to these families." Why the urgency? "It's critical for communities to be able to get water. It's just a really sad situation for the people of CAR. They're the ones that are going to suffer the most."

Meanwhile, four staff members are trying to get past their own trauma. Their homes were also looted. A team member, Tokondo, is grieving the loss of his son, caught in gunfire. Another is praising God that his own 17-year-old son was able to escape rogue rebels who kidnapped him as a local guide. He slipped away in the night and navigated home safely. There is relief in the midst of pain, but the need is still great.

Where water is inaccessible, poverty is pervasive, says Thorp. "It's just a domino effect. You drink dirty water, you get sick, parasites. Children get dehydrated, and they can die. It's just a whole series of things that just puts back your development."

Clean water is a picture of Living Water. The good news is, "The Gospel is huge in every one of our endeavors, in every one of our water points. We take the opportunity to share Christ's love with them, through word and deed."

Thorp goes on to say that prayer is another big part of that mission. "ICDI's people need to be safe, so that's the #1 prayer request, that they would be okay. Then, also [pray for] stability so we can get back there and continue working with the people of CAR."


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