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Published:March 10th, 2008 09:02 EST
Michigan Christians gear up to help Bhutanese Refugees

Michigan Christians gear up to help Bhutanese Refugees

By SOP newswire

Sault St. Marie, MI-- Christian Freedom International (CFI), a Michigan-based humanitarian organization, is gearing up to distribute supplies in the aftermath of an accidental fire that destroyed over 90 percent of the homes in a Bhutanese refugee camp in eastern Nepal.

With the help of the Nepalese government and local relief agencies, the United Nations has already mobilized to provide emergency assistance of shelter, food and clothing for the 8,000 men, women and children who lost their homes in the March 1st devastation. The site is one of seven U.N.-run camps in the region that has helped accommodate over 107,000 refugees for the past 17 years, after ethnic Hindu minorities fled Bhutan to escape persecution and national laws that stripped them of their citizenship.

Fire has been a constant threat in Nepal's refugee camps, where fire-prone thatched huts have caused several other blazes in the past few years. Refugee representatives in Kathmandu have stated that the March 1st fire is among the worst ever experienced, with over 1,200 homes and one school being burned to the ground. The fire-affected refugees have been forced to take shelter in makeshift tents made of plastic sheets attached to bamboo poles.

Proper shelter, latrines and health care are the most prevalent needs for the refugees, and the lack of sanitation in the camp poses an ongoing threat of disease outbreaks. It is estimated that reconstruction of the camp could take as long as two months, and the U.N. is calling on the international community to help provide long-term support of the refugees.

Christian Freedom International is among those in the humanitarian sector that have come forward to assist with the relief efforts in Nepal. "I have prayerfully made a plan to conduct outreach programs there in the Goldhap refugee camp," says CFI's Nepalese co- worker. "We will preach the Gospel as well as distribute food, clothes, medicine and Bibles."

Since its founding in 1998, CFI has also provided relief aid in countries such as China, Sudan, Burma, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Vietnam, and Laos.

For more information visit www.christianfreedom.org.

Christian Newswire