We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair. – 2 Corinthians 4:8
In August, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world surpassed 20 million. As the virus continues to spread, other crises are exacerbating challenges in vulnerable areas.
Parts of India, Nepal and several African nations are experiencing flooding, Somalian communities are battling cholera outbreaks, and locusts are ravaging crops across Africa and Afghanistan.
In the midst of these extremely difficult circumstances, TEAR’s partners remain faithfully present with communities. Working alongside people who are ‘hard pressed on every side,’ our partners are meeting despair with practical expressions of the life and grace of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:8-15).
After four months, the Government has declared that the national lockdown is over, however, regional lockdowns are still being implemented. Nepal is reeling under deep recession which is affecting everyone. While many people are eager to see services recover and the economy improve, extreme caution is needed as this disease can run out of control with little warning.
Please pray for the government and all officials who make decisions and manage aspects of national life. There is a long period of hardship and recovery ahead. Also, the Monsoon continues with little break, causing flooding and tragedy. Pray that these rains that are so vital to maintain life will not be so extreme as to bring death.
Our partner ACROSS is currently experiencing challenges with transport and delayed access to project areas. This hampers their activities, and is draining on staff who are navigating the increased regulations. Transport is also being impacted by severe flooding across many regions. Further, recently an ACROSS convoy was ambushed, with vehicles damaged and property stolen. Thank God that no lives were lost and the team suffered only minor injuries, and please pray for all those who experienced the incident, as well as the refugee communities who are now experiencing interrupted services.
Continue to pray for ACROSS as they use radio broadcasting to share health and sanitation messages in rural communities, help set up hand washing stations, and provide sanitation and health supplies to vulnerable families.
As well as COVID-19, Somalia is facing flash flooding, cholera outbreaks and locust infestation. Without sustained humanitarian assistance, these compounded crises are expected to push around 3.4 million people into food insecurity. TEAR’s partner Medair is responding to outbreaks with vital outreach services facilitated by community health workers. Medair also continues to work through a network of over 1000 volunteers to reach vulnerable communities with vital health, sanitation and nutrition information.
World Concern has dedicatedly served the Rohingya refugee communities in camps in Bangladesh, working within strict government restrictions that have limited the access of many NGOs. The child-friendly spaces, women’s groups and livelihood activities that World Concern ran in the camps have had to close due to COVID-19. One woman shared,
“My children enjoyed the child-friendly space. Now, my children are staying in this small shelter and cannot move outside and cannot play with their friends. So, they become depressed. Their physical and mental growth is challenged.”
Please pray for World Concern as they support the Rohingya community with health information, hand washing stations, and hygiene materials; pray that as their staff visit households in the camps that they might bring peace and strength to those who are struggling; and pray that their usual work will be able to recommence soon.
The North Darfur region, where TEAR partner ZOA Sudan works, has seen a sharp increase in COVID cases and deaths among the elderly. Health services are very under resourced. Pray for ZOA’s team and leadership as they navigate the critical time ahead, and cope with other complexities including flare-ups of conflict.
TEAR has partnered with Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) to support Aboriginal families across Australia with food and essential supplies. In Port Stephens, funds provided fuel for a fishing boat, giving Elders access to nutritional fish (at a time when the local price of sausages skyrocketed to $16/kg!). In Melbourne, AEF distributed food and masks to people in the western suburbs, many of whom have come from all over Australia and don’t have strong local networks to support them. In Broome and Kununurra, essential food and hygiene supplies were provided to Elders and their households.
“Our dear Aboriginal Elders have been at heightened risk,” AEF shared. “It has been a time of increased food costs and lack of items available… resourcing people to show support and compassion has been a wonderful help and blessing.”
Every day we are seeing the vital importance of the work of our partners as they pivot their projects to provide lifesaving support: health care, food, and meeting basic needs. God’s presence is embodied in the sacrificial and tireless work of our partners, and we are deeply thankful for your prayers and support that enable this vital work.
Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).