Brethren Disaster Ministries is directing a grant of $100,000 to provide for the basic needs of displaced Nigerians and other needs in Nigeria, where members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) as well as families of EYN denominational staff are among the thousands of people who have fled violence.
The grant comes from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Gifts to support this disaster relief effort can be made online at www.brethren.org/edf . Gifts to support the Nigeria mission of the Church of the Brethren can be made at www.brethren.org/nigeria .
In related news, some EYN denominational staff reportedly have been returning to the area of the EYN headquarters, which was mostly evacuated more than three weeks ago when Boko Haram insurgents made swift advances to secure territory. Recently, EYN leaders have been visiting makeshift refugee camps where thousands of church members have fled seeking safety.
This week, news reports from Nigeria are quoting Nigerian army claims to have killed the Boko Haram leader and hundreds of insurgents in fierce fighting near Maiduguri. There also are claims that hundreds of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered. A BBC report, however, warns “the claims are impossible to verify.” In the meantime, other reports indicate continued insurgent attacks and killings in communities in both Nigeria and Cameroon.
Grant extends aid to thousands of displaced
The grant of $100,000 continues the Church of the Brethren response to the relentless violence in northeast Nigeria, where people have suffered displacement, killings, kidnappings and property destruction.
“As the largest church body in this area, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria leadership report that more EYN churches and members have been impacted than any other denomination,” said the grant request. “This now includes 7 of the 51 EYN districts and parts of other districts that are no longer functioning as they and have been overrun by Boko Haram. As a result of this violence, over 650,000 people are displaced, including as many as 45,000 EYN members.”
In addition, “the stories of more horrific atrocities are being reported,” the document said. “Many have fled to the mountains for refuge, while in other settings as many as 70 people are living in one temporary shelter intended for two families.”
Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission and Service staff have outlined a three-stage response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis, but a swiftly changing and fluid situation has caused changes to plans made just a few weeks ago. For example, a grant of $20,000 given at the end of the summer was intended to support a pilot relocation project. However, with realization that the ongoing violence requires a more rapid response, the large $100,000 grant has been given sooner than expected in order to move forward.
Details of the large-scale disaster response plan and some implementing partners continue to be developed, but the following phases have been announced:
— Phase 1: Emergency Response, focuses on providing for basic human survival in the midst of the emergency. This includes the building of care centers for displaced families, temporary shelters, rent or purchase of land, providing of household supplies, emergency food rations, tools for agriculture, transportation, and development of risk management/security for EYN focused on violence avoidance through effective planning and early evacuation.
— Phase 2: Recovery, will focus on the emotional and spiritual needs of Nigerian leadership and families, and peace building efforts within churches and communities. This will include helping to expand the EYN Peace Program, providing trauma and resiliency training to pastors and church leaders, financial support for displaced pastors, spiritual care and worship opportunities in Care Centers and other locations where families are displaced.
— Phase 3: Rebuilding Communities, will focus on long-term recovery and helping families become self-supporting again. At this point in the conflict it is difficult to know the full scope of needs for rebuilding, but this will likely include transitioning temporary Care Centers into permanent communities, and rebuilding homes, churches, water sources, and other community needs in damaged hometowns.
Gifts to support the disaster relief effort in Nigeria are received at www.brethren.org/edf or may be mailed to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Gifts to support the Nigeria mission of the Church of the Brethren are received at www.brethren.org/nigeria or may be mailed to Church of the Brethren, Attn: Global Mission and Service, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.