Myanmar (MNN/VBB) — Eight days ago, heavy rains came as another blow to the village of Mawchi in Kayah State, Myanmar.
Already dealing with the country’s worst floods in 100 years, which struck from late July to August, the deluge caused a river to flood a bridge, wash out roads, and slow down emergency personnel dealing with deadly landslides in the area. Local authorities are relocating those living in disaster-hit areas to relief camps.
Dyann Romeijn, a spokeswoman for Vision Beyond Borders, says, “It’s in a village that our contacts work with, out of the refugee camps, and it’s predominantly a Christian village. I believe that there are 792 victims that are now displaced that are staying in a church, a middle school, an old hospital, and a high school.”
Why has there been next to nothing on the disaster in the news? “They don’t have technology. They don’t have electricity. They don’t have a lot of those things to get the word out. So, it’s been about a week since this happened, but our contacts are working to get aid into these people.”
Local authorities, army personnel, and police teamed up with residents to carry out rescue operations. Romeijn explains, “There [are] medical needs. They’re trying to get food and temporary housing to these people. It’s a very poor village. [Communication is] difficult because this is a village that is in a very remote area in the mountains.” Aid reached some of the victims, she adds, but it’s likely not everyone got help. “In a lot of these areas, the Christians are highly persecuted, so a lot of times there’s not a lot of outside assistance that will come for Christian believers, because they’re already kind of ostracized.”
VBB relies on their partnerships to provide a needs assessment. “It looks like, from pictures, that a lot of bridges may be taken out, so it may be very difficult for them to get to all of the people. Just pray for wisdom in how to get to the people they need to get to.” Although there’s a team heading to the area in December, says Romeijn. “It sounds like a situation where the needs are pretty immediate, so we will probably just send the funds for our contacts there to be able to purchase the items that are needed and get them to the people right away.”
Romeijn says the affected village has a lot of Christians in it, but it’s still a Gospel opportunity for the community. “It’s important for the Church in America to come alongside them because there isn’t a lot of support for them in their own country.” Plus, a visit means the believers haven’t been forgotten. “It’s for them to see the Body of Christ come alongside them, to be reminded and strengthened in their own faith that God loves them and is providing for them.”