Government shuts down Orissa relief camps

By February 4, 2009

India (MNN) — After facing months of violent persecution this fall, believers are now being turned out of government refugee camps in Orissa. Tens of thousands of people are being evicted from relief camps with only 50 kg of rice and 10,000 rupees (appr. $200 US). Mission India is providing emergency relief kits containing basic supplies for believers in Orissa.

Many Christian homes have not been rebuilt, and many fear further attacks outside of the relief camps. Persecution continued within relief camps, where Christians were threatened with violence. Local Hindus often refuse to hire Christians, and it's unlikely that believers will be able to secure employment. With no access to basic supplies after they leave the camps, there is an urgent need to provide for these believers' physical needs.

In August 2008, a wave of violence followed the assassination of Hindu swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. Over 100 people, mostly Christian, were killed and 4,500 buildings destroyed or damaged. Hindu nationalist groups placed the blame on Christians and began targeting local believers, despite a Maoist group's confession to assassinating Saraswati. Last month, India's Supreme Court ordered Orissa's state government, led by a local party and a Hindu nationalist party, to ensure protection for the state's Christian minority.

Despite the closing of government relief camps, those run by local churches will remain open. Mission India staff is working with its local ministry partners to distribute emergency materials in relief camps where the needs are most urgent. Relief kits include the following supplies: cooking utensils, rice, a water jug, blankets, clothing for two adults and two children, a Bible, and a picture New Testament in the local language. Food and medicine are also included where most urgently needed.

You can help provide for believers in this desperate plight by clicking here.

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