Providing for the poor wanderer

By July 20, 2011

Mozambique (MNN) — The crisis in refugee camps continues to grow as more and more Somali and Ethiopian refugees flee across northern Mozambique borders. Drought, war and persecution particularly have Somali and Ethiopian Christians running for their lives to safety.

The boats arriving on the shores of Mozambique are full of refugees who often come with nothing but the clothes on their backs. So far, the number of refugees needing humanitarian aid is estimated at 600 with the number still climbing.

Food for the Hungry (FFH) has stepped up to help these refugees in Mozambique. FH is working with the Mozambique government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Together, they are building an overflow refugee camp in the coastal town of Palma by setting up a kitchen station and clearing land.

This overflow camp is desperately needed since The Maratane Refugee Camp in Nampula already holds twice its normal amount. It went from 5,500 long-term refugees back in 2010, to over 10,000 today with the influx of asylum-seekers. So far, an additional 1,000 have been moved to the camp being constructed in Palma.

Refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia first started arriving in 2010 by boat, but the number of arrivals was not overwhelming. As long as the number of arrivals was around the number of departures, the camps could handle it.

But starting in 2011 when the worst drought in 60 years struck, that coupled with war and persecution led to a major movement of refugees fleeing Somalia and Ethiopia. To exert more control over the situation, the Mozambique government added restrictions on the movements of refugees outside the camps.

So far, Palma is still a temporary camp for overflow refugees. It is not ideal as the camp is near mosquito-infested swamps and lacks sanitary water. Food for the Hungry and the UNHCR are appealing for more aid including food, water, tents and sanitation.

Food for the Hungry exists to end physical and spiritual hungers in some of the most impoverished and critical areas of the world. The refugee camps in Mozambique easily fit the bill.

This pairing of humanitarian aid with evangelism encourages Christian refugees who have left everything they own. And it opens doors to minister the Gospel to the hurting and lost. Here is where the Christian community can step up and join the mission.

Please pray for refugees in the camps of Mozambique, that they would receive the aid they need and be able to work toward a better life. Pray also for perseverance for the church both in dangerous areas of persecution and in places of asylum. If you would like to have a hand in helping refugees both physically and spiritually, you can donate here.

Isaiah 58:6-7 says, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

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