500,000 displaced by fighting in Somalia
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Mogadishu, Somalia
The worst violence in 17 years has devastated the city of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Reports state 500,000 people have fled Mogadishu since the violence began three months ago, and to make matters worse, a cholera outbreak has killed hundreds of children and elderly in the last eight weeks.

Additional reports indicate the violence is finally coming to an end and refugees are set to return to their homes.

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) has developed a plan to assist families to return from refugee camps so they do not become permanently displaced. NCM’s goal is to provide immediate assistance to people who are living without shelter under trees and in the countryside. Families will receive materials to construct emergency shelter, some assistance with food, and because of the cholera outbreak, assistance with drinking water. Later, some aid with materials to rebuild houses is planned.

According to NCM, many relief organizations have given up trying to assist in Somalia because they are forced to pay bribes to local clans and hire gunmen. However, NCM is blessed to have a strong network of local leaders who have been able to work with community leaders to do small scale assistance projects in ways that avoid these problems.

In early 2005, in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami, NCM was able to assist 60 Somali families in coastal villages to regain financial self-sufficiency. In communities where all boats had been destroyed, fishermen were enabled to return to the sea. One coastal community received assistance in restoring a radio system which was vital to fishermen and for communication with the other countries.

Also, at the end of a severe drought in mid-2006, NCM was able to distribute seed grain to destitute farmers in key growing areas. Through careful community planning and timely rains, these farmers received a bumper crop and were able to avoid being displaced from their land.

For the current project, NCM speculates at least $20,000 (U.S.) is needed to provide food, jerry cans for water, and plastic sheets.

World Mission Director Louie E. Bustle states, “We are praying that God will use the Church of the Nazarene to help many of these displaced families return home and that, in the process, we will be an instrument of Christ’s peace.”

Persons and churches wishing to make a donation can mark their checks “Internally Displaced People ACM2004 ” and mail them to the General Treasurer, 6401 The Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64131. In Canada, checks should be made payable and sent to the Church of the Nazarene Canada, 20 Regan Road, Unit 9, Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3. Immediate donations may also be made online at ncm.org