“Total chaos” best describes the humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic (CAR). The country ranks in the top 10 nations for civil unrest, and no end appears in sight. Since 2012, a cycle of revenge between Muslim and nonMuslim forces has stripped the population of security and has taken people’s homes, provisions, and lives. Only the capital city of Bangui has relative peace due to the presence of UN troops and foreign governmental intervention.
Across CAR, raiding groups regularly enter communities to rape women, brutally kill people, raze or burn homes, and steal livestock. The lawlessness is so severe that humanitarian aid workers have pulled out of all areas except Bangui. Nearly all schools are closed. Many people's gardens (their food sources) have been burned, causing food crises. Almost no internet is available in northern CAR, and phone connections are very limited.
In the past few months, a former BMM mission station was destroyed in Kembe in south-central CAR. At Ippy, 300 miles northeast of Bangui, A BMM-founded hospital was looted, and some of the staff fled into the woods for safety. In the past, fighting groups have spared the hospital because of its benefit to Muslims and non-Muslims. However, escalating anger and revenge cycles have crushed even that sense of mercy and common sense.
The price of instability
For BMM missionaries still in-country, travel is limited. Emotions also get depleted by continual accounts of torture and killings. For the Africans themselves, their entire way of life has been changed. Insecurity and instability are part of daily life. When rumors of raids come, people flee their homes to live in the jungle, without food or shelter, to wait for what will happen. The African culture of interdependence has been a saving grace for survival. When one person acquires a little food, they divide it with those in need. They share housing also, with many living in one hut.
Do it for one
With hundreds of thousands of people displaced and hungry, relief efforts can seem like a drop in the ocean. Yet we take the stance of “What you wish you could do for many, do for one.” Because Africans are so interdependent, help offered to one person gets shared with an entire family or with neighbors. In the US, five dollars can buy a fast-food value meal. In CAR, a gift of five dollars can feed a family for a week.
Through BMM’s World Relief fund, we provide food, medicine, household goods, and construction and garden supplies. Please consider a gift to the World Relief program, designated for CAR, to help with these needs. For more information on giving methods, click here.
More than ever, the people of CAR need our help through both prayer and World Relief assistance. We can help believers carry the weight of their unjust suffering. From all of us at Baptist Mid-Missions, thank you for your compassionate concern and care for the body of Christ around the world.
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Banner photo: Refugees of the fighting in Central African Republic observe Rwandan soldiers being dropped off at Bangui M'Poko International Airport in the Central African Republic Jan. 19, 2014, 140119-F-RN211-760.jpg. Photo taken by US Air Force SSgt Ryan Crane. Public domain.