Sudan expels aid groups, CRWRC partners remains

By March 10, 2009

Sudan (MNN) — The Sudanese government is having a difficult time filling the gaps left when Sudan expelled 13 aid groups. This was done in response to the International Criminal Court's decision to issue a warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, charging him with war crimes for the Darfur conflict.

However, the expulsions didn't affect the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and their work in Darfur, says CRWRC's Ken Little. "We have not been impacted. We work in partnership with World Relief, and our programs are going on as normal. We're keeping an alert watch around us to see what's happening. Our regular work week began yesterday, and as far as I know, today everything is going well."

Even though CRWRC is still there, they can't make up the difference the 13 groups were contributing. Little says many were involved in water and food projects. "If in fact they do have to leave, it will just enhance the suffering and increase the suffering of many, many, many people in Darfur."

Little believes over 2-million people have been displaced by the fighting in Darfur alone.

He's hoping these groups will be able to return. "We do know that all 13 groups are appealing the decision of the government of Sudan and asking for a reversal of the decision."

In the meantime CRWRC's work continues. Little says, "We've been providing some medical health clinics; some after-school programs for kids; a very comprehensive nutrition program, water, sanitation and food security; and helping with new varieties of seeds."

With the increasing needs in Sudan, how is the economic downturn affected CRWRC's work? Little says, "Our Canadian giving has stayed right up there, and our U.S. giving has come down a bit."

As CRWRC is helping with the physical needs, the spiritual needs aren't forgotten. But Little says it's challenging. "We're being the hands and feet of Christ. It's a Muslim-dominate society, and the best way to testify is to show and demonstrate Christ's love."

According to Little, there are some specific prayer requests. He's asking people to pray for the safety of their team. Also, "Pray for wisdom for the Sudanese government and for an ability to recognize that there's an opportunity for positive change rather than retribution."

He also asking people to pray for the Sudanese who were employed by the expelled aid agencies. That makes the situation even more difficult for those who were struggling to survive.

If you can help CRWRC's work in Sudan, click here.

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