Displaced war victims in Sri Lanka suffering

By September 2, 2009

Sri Lanka (MNN) — While the civil war has in Sri Lanka has been over since mid-May, thousands of war victims remain displaced from their homes. Malnutrition is widespread. Hopelessness abounds. And Christians are reaching out in Jesus' name to provide help physically and spiritually.

Speaking from Sri Lanka, a worker with Partners International whom we'll call Joseph says there are "280,000 people who are living in this one particular area in the north of Sri Lanka. The camps are quite congested."

Joseph says these aren't your typical displacement camps "because these people are detained. They don't have freedom of movement; they can't go out. And they are like prisoners."

This week, Amnesty International made a fresh appeal for the release of tens of thousands of these war-displaced Sri Lankan Tamils locked behind military-run camps in the island's north. The London-based rights watchdog said their "unlock the Camps" call was being issued at the start of their international council meeting in Turkey, and they urged the Sri Lankan government to give freedom of movement to those who are displaced.

Joseph says Partners International started by providing food to 10,500 people. He says they also discovered a number of believers in the camp. "There are around 200 pastors who are also within these camps who are detained. And they have congregations within there. Some of these people have lost their families. So we're also helping pastors."

There are 35,000 children and 1,800 orphans just wandering in the camps.

While workers with Partners International can assist with physical needs, sharing their faith is difficult, says Joseph. "It is not very easy because we are not allowed to talk. We are not allowed to take photographs. These camps are guarded by military. But the people are desperate. They are very open. So we're trying to empower the pastors there so that they can help the people in the camps."

Joseph is asking you to pray for relief workers. Many are working non-stop without much rest. Pray also that God will use this situation to soft the hearts of the Tamil people so they will turn to Christ. Funding is also a desperate need. $100 will go a long way to help the needs of these displaced individuals.

If you'd like to help, click here.

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