By Olugu Ukpai PhD, CHAMA CEO
Refugee crisis can refer to movements of large groups of displaced people, who could be either internally displaced persons, forced displaced people, or refugees. The world’s refugee population stood at 25.4 million people at the end of 2017, having increased by more than 10 per cent since the previous year. The past decade has seen a substantial increase in the world’s forcibly displaced population, with the number standing at 42.7 million in 2007. It brings the total worldwide population of forcibly displaced people to a new high of 68.5 million. This includes 40 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 25.4 million refugees and 3.1 million asylum-seekers. Since the 1950s, many nations in Africa have suffered civil wars and ethnic strife, thus generating a massive number of refugees of many different nationalities and ethnic groups. The number of refugees in Africa increased from 860,000 in 1968 to 6,775,000 by 1992. By the end of 2004, that number had dropped to 2,748,400 refugees, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
However, the above figure does not include internally displaced persons, who do not cross international borders and so do not fit the official definition of refugee. Many refugees in Africa cross into neighbouring countries to find haven. This is exactly the case of the Urukpam community that find haven in two neighbouring communities of Amangwu and Okon Aku Ohafia both in Abia State.
A CLARION CALL FROM REV OGBOSO KALU OF EMMANUEL PCN
I got the news of the crisis leading to the people of Urukpam taking refuge in Amangwu, through Rev Ogboso O. Kalu of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Amangwu Ohafia Parish. I was shocked to my marrows. I immediately called on the Executive Administrative Assistant to the CEO of CHAMA, Dr. Oyidiya Ukoha to visit Amangwu to review the situation on the ground and make some recommendations to me. During her visit, she made several enquiries including speaking with a ruling Elder of the PCN and thus gave a message of hope to the displaced persons. I also had the opportunity to speak one on one with Mr Godwin Ikor and Maria Okpo Igbor in the course of her interviews. The duo lamented that “Children, as well as adults especially the aged, are suffering from severe health challenges including Malaria, Diarrhea, High Fever, Diabetes, Ulcer and with so many having surgical cases needing urgent medical attention.” I was left perplexed and broken at the height of the sufferings and need.
CHAMA DECLARES EMERGENCY MEDICAL MISSION AND RELIEF ASSISTANCE -22ND DEC
Following an emergency meeting of CHAMA National Executive Council (C-NEC) today being the 17th of December 2018, their situation was declared critical. That underscores the dispatching of CHAMA Medical Emergency Team and volunteer warriors to Amangwu on the 22nd of December. While CHAMA medical team shall provide Free Medical Treatment on the 22nd with emphasis on Children, Elderly and Emergency Cases, those with urgent surgical cases shall be operated FREE by CHAMA Medical Team 10-13th January 2019 at Isuikwuato during our Annual Medical Mission with Partners.
JESUS WAS A REFUGEE ON EARTH.
Jesus reminds us that any time we “welcome the stranger” we welcome Jesus himself (Mt 25). Refugees and migrants are our brothers and sisters desperately in need of our help. In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we read the story of the “Flight into Egypt” in which, after the birth of Jesus and the visit from the Magi, an “angel of the Lord” comes to Joseph in a dream and warns him to leave Bethlehem for Egypt (Mt 2:12-15). Jesus was a refugee on earth. As the CEO of CHAMA, I want to re-assure the displaced refugees that they are not in this alone. We are together. We are praying for them. God never abandons His people. We use this opportunity to call on good people worldwide to come to the aid of my community. The situation is ugly. Thanks for your support and prayers. God bless.
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