Sri Lanka (MNN) — Volunteers are currently not allowed into the overflowing displacement
camps in Sri Lanka. Still, workers with Gospel for Asia are providing as much help as they can.
It is estimated by the United Nations that as many as 50,000 civilians are trapped in these government designated "safe zones." However, according to Dr. T. Varatharaja, who
is working in the camp and spoke to BBC, "There is no food, no water supply, no toilet facilities and no safe area." People are making shelter under trees if necessary. Varatharaja said of the 400 to 500 tons of food the camp requires each week, they are receiving 60 tons. Those 60 tons consist only of rice and dahl, an Asian lentil.
GFA-supported missionaries are supplementing this food supply. They are also offering books for the makeshift schools that have started up and sandals for those who wore theirs out on the long trek to the camp.
The GFA workers are petitioning the government to allow them access inside the camps. Thus far the government has said they restricted access because they cannot guarantee the safety of volunteers.
The harsh conditions have not discouraged those whose hope is in Christ. GFA reports that there are individuals within the camp who are offering spiritual comfort to their neighbors.
Displaced people are not strangers to the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers which began in 1971. Part of the Hindu minority, the Tamils want a separate homeland aside from the Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka. The conflict has escalated since the peaceful beginning, resulting in land arguments and civilian casualties that some estimate to have accumulated to 70,000.
The most recent attack on May 9 and 10 added another 400 to the number dead, and 1,000 injured. The government states that the Tamils now control just five kilometers in the
northeast part of Sri Lanka.
In the camps, the provisions offered by GFA workers will be a strong testimony to the love of Christ. Pray that the few Christians within the camp remain strong. Pray that this time of uncertainty will lead many to depend on Christ.