World Vision's community development programs — located in central and southern Chad — reportedly are stable and not affected.
Some 52,000 N'Djamena residents, however, were forced to flee the capital to Kousseri, in northern Cameroon, World Vision staff members report. Among them is Mariam Yaya, a 60-year-old grandmother: "I decided to run to Kousseri on Sunday night after witnessing the death of six neighbors after a bomb shell hit their house."
Meanwhile, the United Nations distributed emergency food to 37,000 hungry refugees in Kousseri. Many had not eaten for several days, including Mariam's 18 family members.
"There was no food for us when we arrived here [five days ago]," Mariam says. Like thousands of other refugees in the region, she set up a shelter for her family next to a small, thorny tree from which bed sheets and clothing is strung to provide a shelter. Most of the refugees in Kousseri are exposed to cold, windy weather.
Because of the growing humanitarian crisis in Kousseri, World Vision's office in Chad is mobilizing resources to respond to the needs of refugees through a local church partner in Maroua, Cameroon. Located some 145 miles south of Kousseri, the site is linked to accessible roads and emergency supply stores. Talks are underway to possibly also partner with the United Nations to assist some 35,000 in the camps in Kousseri.
According our emergency team's latest assessments, the biggest needs now among refugees in Cameroon are basic non-food items — including plastic sheeting for temporary shelters, blankets, soap, sleeping mats, and mosquito nets — as well as cooking fuel and water cans.
Our primary focus during times of crisis is the needs of children and other vulnerable populations, including women and the elderly.
In the midst of the present situation in Chad, World Vision also is calling on the international community to assure that rebels and the Chadian government do not conscript children to be child soldiers. On the Cameroon side, we are calling for children's needs to be given priority attention by governmental and humanitarian groups. Humanitarian access must be assured regardless of the outcome of the conflict.
World Vision also is requesting children's protection during the upcoming relocation process to a more secure refugee site in Maroua.
>> Pray for the safety of children and families in World Vision's programs in Chad. Pray also for our staff members, that they may be able to continue their development work, regardless of the outcome of the fighting, and quickly provide basic assistance to survivors.
>> Donate to World Vision's Disaster Response Fund. Your contribution will help World Vision continue to quickly and effectively respond to sudden-onset crises around the world, such as the recent fighting in Chad's capital city and refugee crisis in Cameroon.
>> Give monthly to help provide critical care to children around the world who are terrorized by war and conflict. Become a Child Crisis Partner.
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