We need to talk about Nigeria

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By Beth Westwood | 31 July 2017

You've probably heard about the famine sweeping across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Twenty million people are at risk of starvation and even the UN’s attempts to raise enough money for support have fallen short. But this famine isn’t caused by a natural disaster or drought–it’s caused by war.

This is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II and Christians in Nigeria are among those suffering the most.

Nigeria has been torn apart by conflict since 2009, when the Islamic extremist group ‘Boko Haram’ tried to take over. Churches were destroyed, businesses shut down and many Christians were abducted - including the 276 Chibok girls. Thousands were forced to flee their homes and now live in makeshift camps. Families haven’t been able to farm for three years, and now their food reserves have run out.

Footage of food distribution in Nigeria

Many Christians are being excluded from receiving emergency relief, simply because of their faith in Jesus.

Outside the camps Christians experience persecution from Islamic extremists. Inside the camps they face daily pressure and isolation. Corruption in Nigeria has meant that a lot of government aid has gone missing and never arrived for those in need.

Laraba, a local Christian, told us, “There are some things the government used to bring to help the people, but we Christians don’t receive it.” 

Nigeria 2017 0270101354 edImage: Families receiving food packs

Even just delivering aid to such a large number of people poses a massive logistical challenge. Controlling crowds of desperate and hungry people is hard, and many have to wait in line for hours. Women faint in the heat and there is the constant threat of another Boko Haram attack. The rainy season also arrived early and forced our local partners to get the food under shelter.

But despite the challenges, there is still hope.


Your Help Makes a Difference!

Because of your help, we are able to provide food for 15,000 families affected by the famine in Nigeria, with widows, orphans and the elderly being the highest priority. That’s around 75,000 people who will be helped in the most affected parts of Northern Nigeria.

All this is done through the local church, because we believe we are not the answer–Jesus is.

Nigeria 2016 0270101071Image: Food being distributed through local churches 

Your help enables the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.

“Supporters won’t believe what this help means to us all… this makes us so emotional. We are praying for all of you and the beneficiaries are praying for you all. We give thanks to God for you… These are the things that keep the light of God shining in the North. We are the messengers to them of the love of all of you praying for us and supporting us in this relief effort.” - Open Doors local partner

Source: UN

Your Help Makes a Difference

Your ongoing support helps Open Doors respond immediately to the needs to the persecuted church.

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