Ivory Coast pain too fresh for refugees to trust

By June 10, 2011

Ghana (BGR/MNN) — It may look like the Ivory Coast has returned to normal,
but there is still a heavy presence of Ivorian refugees in Ghana.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has urged all those seeking
refuge in Ghana to return home and help in the nation's rebuilding process.

However, the thing uppermost in the minds of the refugees is the fear of
returning to their homeland in case they become one of the three thousand dead
or disappeared.  

More than one million people were displaced by post-election violence
following Ouattara's win. Of
those, 6000 who fled to Ghana settled in the Ampain camp in the Western
region, which was maxed out at 5,500. Hundreds of thousands of others found refuge in no-man's land, neighboring
countries ill-prepared to help, or in other squalid conditions in hastily set-up camps.

About 15,000 Ivory Coast refugees made it to the eastern
border town of Elubo, Ghana, where they are being housed in a transition camp
until new long-term camps can be carved out of the bush, say Mark and Susan Hatfield,
who direct the Baptist Global Response work in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Mark says that at the height of the crisis, "More than 100
new refugees are being registered each day at Elubo, and more than 600 people
have spent weeks in the transition camp, which was designed to hold people for
only a couple of days. "

A BGR partner coordinating a Southern Baptist response to
the refugee crisis indicates that the Ghanaian government is overwhelmed. They asked for help setting up a new camp 95
miles away.   

That brings to light other needs: food, housing, clean water,
medicine, and spiritual care. Southern
Baptists are helping with the project by providing five wells for the camp
which stands to house about 4,500 people.

BGR is also responding with food aid to the camp, which is
run by local churches who are also training their teams in trauma counseling
and other kinds of ministries needed by camp residents.

Pray that through the example of providing water for daily
living, refugees can find true Living Water through a relationship in Jesus
Christ. Ask God for provision. Pray for peace that will allow the refugees
to go home. There's more here.

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