Ethnic Karen flee Myanmar

By June 25, 2009

Myanmar (MNN) — Thousands of
ethnic Karen villagers have fled Myanmar's army attacks.

The Barnabus Fund reports that
since June 6, the Myanmar military has attacked the mountain villages in
search of Karen rebels, killing residents as they flee, or giving them
extremely hard labor and sometimes even using them as human land mine sweepers. 

Wes Flint with
Vision Beyond Borders
says, "Many of these fled to
refugee camps on the Thailand border or on the Burma border." But once there, they discovered the rebels
weren't the  only targets. Many of the Karen are Christians. Many have already
faced extensive ethnic and religious discrimination from the military regime.

According to a recent report from
Christian Solidarity Worldwide–a human rights organization, there's plenty of
fresh evidence of human rights violations against them in Burma. Aside from the war atrocities, it's not
uncommon for soldiers to rape women in the camps. For the Karen trapped in the camps, there is
no justice. There's also no safety.

Flint says one of their contacts
has been sneaking into the refugee camps to bring aid to the Karen there. "The military fired mortars into the
refugee camp; they've also been poisoning the water with weed killer. What's going on there is an
absolute horror. The Thai soldiers see, but they just
allow it to continue." 

Barnabus Fund also reports several Christian
orphanages which were set up to provide a safe haven for the Cyclone Nargis
survivors are being targeted and raided for supplies. There are few resources to be had. Aid that came in following Nargis was slow
in arriving and sometimes was stolen.

VBB teams has been providing
humanitarian aid in the camps, as well as Bibles. Flint notes that "many Buddhists
that are in this part of the country have come to Christ, not by aggressive
evangelism but simply by the compassion shown by a few believers that
care."

There are other ways VBB is helping in Myanmar:

Burmese
Bibles:
10,000
Burmese Bibles, at $3.50 each, are needed for Post Cyclone Nargis outreach.

Karen
Bibles:
  3000 needed at $3.00 each.

Burma
Orphanages:
  An
orphanage is under construction to house 500-1000 children. Currently $84,000
is needed to finish the home.

Burma
Orphanage Program (on-going):
  There are 60,000-80,000 children orphaned from last year's
Cyclone Nargis. For $50,000, land can be purchased and a home built to
house 100 children.

Burmese
Pastor's Home for Orphans:
  VBB has committed to help a pastor in the Delta area that
was so devastated by Cyclone Nargis. He has taken 28 children into his
home and needs  $200 per month to care for them (he has no other support).

Northern
Burmese orphanage:
  An orphanage in northern Burma has 135 children and no
other support. VBB has committed to help them at $350 per month.

Burmese
Methodist orphanage:
$200 additional per month needed.  VBB has committed to assist
them with that support.

If you can help, click here.

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