Strang Report, by Steve Strang, Founder of Charisma magazine

 
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The situation in Sri Lanka for the Tamil people, many of whom are Christians, is very dire. The United Nations reports that 6,500 people have been killed and 14,000 injured in last three months alone. You can read more about this in a news article through the link provided at at the bottom of this report.  This Friday a protest against this bloodshed is planned at the United Nations. If you're able to attend or if you can forward this e-mail to people who can attend I encourage you to do it. This is something we must decry.

Several years ago our readers responded to the emergency of the tsunami by helping the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka through Godfrey Yogarajah, its general secretary. We raised more than a quarter of $1 million.

I e-mailed Godfrey yesterday to get an eyewitness view of the problem and he responded last night by telling me that many Christians have "suffered and rendered homeless and destitute." He told me, "Ten of our National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka pastors have died in the shelling in the last four weeks. They stayed with their congregations and paid with their lives."

His staff at Vavuniya recently stated: "There are no more tears left for us to cry; words cannot describe the suffering we have seen. We need help and we need it badly."

Many refugees do not get proper meals or have access to sanitation facilities. Godfrey reported that 38 people, including children, recently died due to lack of food and nourishment.

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance (NCEA) is doing its best to provide the necessities for these people, but it is not an easy task. Assistance is urgently needed to manage the large numbers of refugees. Presently there are more than 100,000 refugees in Vavuniya in north Sri Lanka, and the NCEA is managing 5,000 from that group.

We work with Christian Life Missions as our nonprofit partner. You can give via PayPal by clicking here http://www.christianlifemissions.org/giving/ and we can transfer the money to the NCEA in Sri Lanka as we did before. We will give 100 percent of what comes in to this effort.

For more information I've posted the report sent to me by Godfrey from T.A.S. Vimalan, the relief and  development coordinator, which was up-to-date as of a week ago, but it shows the seriousness of the situation. Please respond as I have to this urgent need. Here is his report:

Unofficial records from the NGO consortium Vavuniya disclosed that a total of 150,000 people from the "no-fire zone" have moved towards Vavuniya last week. Of these people 75,000 are in transit camps in Vavuniya, 15,000 at Omanthan, 20,000 in Killinochchi and a further 40,000 people are being relocated. According to ICRC reports, tens of thousands of civilians still remain trapped inside what was previously a " no-fire zone," as intense fighting continues between the Sri Lankan Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE).

The situation in Vavuniya is deplorable. With more and more people arriving in Vavuniya, people are seen living under trees. Shelter facilities and basic needs for these people keep increasing daily. All schools and most government institutions remain closed as they are being used as transit camps.

Since the 21st of February 2009 Alliance Development Trust (ADT) has been running an IDP camp of 5,000 persons in Vavuniya. However, since the arrival of a large number of people from the "no-fire zone," yesterday the government decided to shift the existing IDPs from Nellukulam Technical College transit camp, which ADT is responsible for relief activities, and relocate them at Chettikulum IDP village. The overnment and the NGO consortium have requested us to run our camp with the new IDPs.

ADT has a new challenge, to start afresh and look after the new IDPs. These civilians fled their dwellings only in the clothes they were in, carrying with them only whatever they could grab a hold of. Among these persons are pregnant and lactating mothers, the elderly, infants, children and adolescents. In their hour of need, we are therefore reaching out to our fellow colleagues at NCEASL once again, for your valuable help to obtain basic needs for these people such as, undergarments for males and females, clothes, milk powder, baby garments, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and sanitation packs for females.

Help us to help them.

T.A.S. Vimalan

If you want information from a more secular perspective, click here to read a news report from Standard News Wire.

Closing Plea: Please help by giving through Christian Life Missions online by clicking here http://www.christianlifemissions.org/giving/, and leave your comments below.

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