“T he Myanmar military came into our village and started shooting big guns … They burned down our entire village. Besides this, they also attacked us by air with war planes shooting and bombing our areas.”
This was just one of the traumatic accounts told to our project partners in Myanmar by suffering and displaced Myanmar Christians. It came from “Hla”, a Christian in Karen State, forced by the military assault to flee her village along with her three-year-old daughter and all of her neighbours.
Barnabas continues to provide vital aid to Christians suffering from this ongoing conflict. Around 3,500 Christian families (an estimated 17,500 people) were reached in the nine months from April 2022 until the end of the year. In addition to rice and other staples, our partners have transported various vital medical supplies and materials for shelter.
Displaced believers receive food, warmth and encouragement
Since the military coup of February 2021, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar has swollen to 1.4 million. Hundreds of thousands of Christians are among them. Many have lost loved ones as well as treasured possessions. Often they cannot return home as their villages have been surrounded by landmines. Sometimes the IDP camps are attacked, forcing our brothers and sisters once again to run for their lives.
Our partners work in great difficulty and danger to ensure that aid funded by Barnabas supporters’ donations reaches its destination. The terrain is unforgiving. In one distribution in late 2022, several boat trips were needed to transport aid to an IDP camp, followed by an onward journey by four-wheel-drive truck. Other journeys required an ox and cart.
Food items include staples such as rice, noodles, fish, vegetables, beans, peppers and oil. Our partners have also distributed baby formula to those with infants, along with medical supplies, tarpaulins, blankets – the latter of which were desperately needed as winter drew closer and parts of Myanmar endured near-freezing conditions. After more than 1,000 blankets were distributed at one IDP camp in December, a Karenni Christian woman joyfully responded, “We are very thankful to receive warm blankets from you today; this is a good day. Our children will sleep well tonight!”
The partners shared the Word with the displaced families and prayed with them. These IDPs said that, whilst aid is greatly appreciated, it was the Word of God that encouraged them most.
Project reference: 75-763 (Aid for persecuted Myanmar Christians)