The militarized conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government has made the humanitarian situation particularly dire in the states of Bomo, Yobe, and Adamawa, where more than 250,000 are displaced and where states of emergency have been imposed.
Unfortunately, churches have been targeted for violence. At the same time, churches are providing humanitarian support for uprooted communities.
Church World Service (CWS), members, and partners’ response
A number of CWS member communions and partner agencies that have churches and other ministry relationships in Nigeria are providing support and accompaniment to them and to their wider communities during this difficult time.
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA’s partner in Nigeria is the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, and two global personnel are working with the Nigeria-based Mashian Foundation. The ELCA is in contact with these partners and personnel.
- Christian Reformed World Missions and sister agency World Renew, formerly the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, have historic and ongoing ministry relationships in Nigeria. The three closest Nigerian partner denominations are all members of the TEKAN fellowship, to which EYN--the Nigerian Brethren Church--also belongs. Most of the member congregations of these three denominations are located in the "middle-belt" states of Benue, Plateau, and Taraba.
- The Church of the Brethren has deep connections in Nigeria. The Nigerian Brethren Church comprises hundreds of thousands of members. The Church of the Brethren is aware of the many thousands of people who have been displaced from northern Nigeria. The Church of the Brethren in the United States has provided some small funds to the EYN Compassion Fund and would like to begin a much larger fundraising appeal and to encourage other communions to also join the effort. Current needs include food, housing, and schooling support.
An estimated 30,000 Nigerians have fled into neighboring Cameroon, with many living in camps and rural settlements. Limited access to rural livelihood opportunities is driving working age refugees to Cameroon's capital, in search of income to support their families.
The refugee arrivals from Nigeria are in addition to the more than 200,000 men, women, and children from Central African Republic (CAR) who have sought protection in Cameroon, many fleeing in 2013 after renewed violence in the CAR. According to UNHCR, malnutrition rates among refugees are alarming. There is a high level of family separation and an increasing numbers of unaccompanied refugee children and single woman-headed households. There is also a noted infiltration of armed elements into the camps along with recruitment attempts.
Depending on the outcome of further discussions with the Church of the Brethren and others, CWS may issue an emergency appeal in support of response efforts such as the Church of the Brethren EYN Compassion Fund. In addition, CWS is considering how it might play a role in bringing those concerned from the ecumenical family in the United States to some common advocacy efforts around the Nigeria situation.
How to help
For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit www.cwsglobal.org or call CWS: 800-297-1516.
Contributions toward the Church of the Brethren relief effort and continuing mission work in Nigeria are received to the Global Mission and Service Nigeria program https://secure2.convio.net/cob/site/Donation2?df_id=1660&1660.donation=form1, the EYN Compassion Fund www.brethren.org/eyncompassion, or the Emergency Disaster Fund www.brethren.org/edf.
Source: 6/25/2014 Newsline