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Global: 20 million close to starvation

In February Prayer Alert readers were told of 1.4 million children at risk of starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeast Nigeria. The crisis has worsened. Millions of people are caught in conflicts within their countries. Livelihoods are disrupted, and they cannot produce food. This is a God-sized situation that requires intercession and His intervention. The UN needs $4.4 billion by July to prevent famine in these countries. An official said the organisation is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since its creation. Without the funding and collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Yemen's needs are the most critical: two-thirds of the population (19 million) need assistance. In South Sudan, 7.5 million need help. In Somalia and northeastern Nigeria there is also severe food insecurity because of violence and instability. See also

Pray: for the funds to be allocated by governments and others around the world, for an end to the conflicts, and for the Gospel to triumph among the 20 million in adversity. (Psalm 67:1,2)

More: edition.cnn.com/2017/03/11/africa/un-famine-starvation-aid/

Nigeria: Chibok girls - what awaits the ones set free?

The ordeal of being kidnapped by Boko Haram does not end with their release. It is the start of a long struggle back into family and community life. The Chibok ‘children’ who have been freed are now young women. An already fraught transition from adolescence to womanhood has been complicated by their captivity. They will be reunited briefly with families over the coming days. There will be tearful reunions and a mixture of emotions, as both parents and daughters will have changed a great deal over the past three years. Then the young women will go through a process of reintegration or rehabilitation. This is either government care or government custody, depending on the need. Some families support the process;, others are angry that they will not have their daughters back even after they have been released from Boko Haram.

Pray: for these girls as they are given vocational training and school lessons over the coming months. Pray also for their eventual reintegration into community life. (1 Samuel 12:22,23b)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39855519

Nigeria: prayers and action are needed

Hundreds of Christians and other religious minorities in central Nigeria have been killed by Fulani militia. Men, women and children are being murdered, their land taken away and their homes destroyed. The number of attacks has increased dramatically, with at least twelve more lives lost in an attack during a vigil service on Easter Saturday. This crisis demands urgent action. Christian Solidarity Worldwide are urging people to request the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai, to protect Christians and other religious minorities and to do everything he can to help those who are being attacked by the militia. They haven’t done anything wrong. They just want to live their lives in peace, something the constant attacks make impossible. Also ask God to hear the prayers of his people and protect non-Muslim communities, which have been suffering attacks since 2010.

Pray: that the governor will be galvanised into taking decisive action to change the situation. Pray for international organisations to spur him on. (1Timothy 2:1,2)

More: www.csw.org.uk/2017/02/21/press/3463/article.htm

Easter violence

Egypt has had three days of mourning after two bombings of Coptic Christian churches by IS on Palm Sunday, killing 49 and injuring dozens. In response to the attacks, Egypt will set up a supreme council to counter terrorism and extremism. At the end of March Israel reported, ‘Egypt is likely to be subject to an IS terror attack in the near future.’ Eitan Ben-David, head of Israel's counter-terror bureau, said, ‘We don't want to cry wolf but we really believe that the threat is serious.’ In many countries, particularly Nigeria, Easter prompts heightened tension between Christians and Muslims. Nigerian churches will be overwhelmingly full, and Easter Monday is a holiday with crowds gathering at markets, beaches, etc. Historically Nigeria has experienced horrendous Easter church bombings. Other countries also experience Christian / Muslim tensions at Easter. In Pakistan last Easter, 75 were killed and 340 injured in Christian-targeted bombings. See also

Pray: for Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan and other countries where being a Christian is a risky choice. Pray for their governments to take tough preventative action in areas where vulnerable crowds gather. (Job 5:21)

More: edition.cnn.com/2017/04/09/middleeast/egypt-church-explosion/

Nigeria: this food is not for you

What makes you angry? I'm not talking about that frustration you feel when you've just missed a train, or your computer crashes - I'm talking about the kind of deep anger that rages against the injustice we see in our fallen world. When I heard about the situation facing our church family in northern Nigeria, that's how I felt - angry and sad. There is a humanitarian crisis in the region, leaving millions on the brink of starvation. This is bad enough in itself. But thousands of Christians, who have already been forced to flee their homes to escape Islamic fundamentalists, are frequently being denied access to the vital aid that they need to survive by local leaders, simply because of their faith in Jesus. Some of our brothers and sisters have been eating leaves - they had nothing else to eat.

Pray: for Open Doors and others who are working through local churches to provide emergency food to thousands of families that the government and aid agencies are failing to reach. (Job 9:19)

More: www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/worldwatch/nigeria.php

Nigeria: meningitis outbreak

An outbreak of meningitis has been reported in six Nigerian states, infecting over a thousand and killing 140. Meningitis causes acute inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The current outbreak is the worst since 2009, when over 150 people died. The disease is spreading; it could become out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds. Vaccination is a way of preventing meningitis. However a new strain imported from a neighbouring country is now prevalent and requires a different vaccine. The outbreak, attributed to cold nights / dusty winds / dry weather, is aggravated by traditional beliefs, poor hygiene, and overpopulation.

Pray: for God to watch over, sustain and provide healing for everyone where outbreaks occur regularly - the meningitis belt stretches from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa. (Ps. 22:24)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39418275

Chad: an unlikely open door

It's a volatile neighbourhood with conflicts, terrorism, and food shortages on all sides. With Libya to its north, Sudan to its east, Central African Republic and Cameroon to its south, and Nigeria to its west, Chad continually attracts the masses seeking refuge when trouble occurs across this region. But there is little refuge to be found, only inadequate infrastructure, instability, conflict, immense poverty, notorious governmental corruption and threats of terrorism. The people of Chad have urgent physical needs. But there is an even greater tragedy that affects eternity: there are more unreached people groups in Chad than in any other nation on earth. The good news is that the number of Muslims turning to Christ is steadily growing. Efforts to reach the unreached are seeing fruit! The door in Chad remains miraculously open to the Gospel.

Pray: for the breath of God to blow across this arid land and bring spiritual life to Chad and the entire Sahel region of Africa. (Numbers 27:16)

More: prayercast.com/chad.html

Global: 1.4 million children at risk of starvation

It has been six years since the world had a famine, but now UNICEF report that nearly 1.4 million children are at ‘imminent risk’ of death from famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. The World Food Programme says over 20 million lives are at risk in the next six months. Time is running out. Famine was formally declared on Monday in parts of South Sudan, mired in civil war since 2013. The conflict has split the country along ethnic lines, leading the UN to warn of potential genocide. South Sudan has also been hit by the same east African drought as Somalia, where six years ago 260,000 people starved to death. A World Food Programme report said, ‘By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns will have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Pray: for lives to be saved from malnutrition by faster humanitarian action by authorities and charities. (Mt.18:10)

More: www.reuters.com/article/us-un-famine-idUSKBN16010A

CAN Calls for Another Day of National Mourning

Christian Association of Nigeria wishes to inform all Christians, both at home and abroad, that based on credible reports of concern, it has decided to suspend the Christian Day of Mourning formerly scheduled to take place globally on Sunday 19th March, 2017.

The President of CAN took cognizance of the preparations that various Christian groups have made to participate in the program which was designed, in all honesty and sincerity, to mourn the death of thousands of Christians murdered by religious insurgents.

Nigeria: air strike error kills 100

A Nigerian air force jet has mistakenly bombed a camp for displaced people near Rann in the north-east of the country where the military is engaged in what it calls its final push against Boko Haram. Up to 100 people were killed and dozens more injured. The dead include six Red Cross employees. The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) aid agency said it is treating 120 injured people and is seeking help with medical evacuations. ‘This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable’, said the MSF director of operations. A Red Cross spokesman stated that the agency's dead employees had been ‘part of a team that had brought in desperately-needed food for over 25,000 displaced persons’. A spokesman for the Nigerian military said that some ‘remnants’ of Boko Haram had been detected outside Rann, and the military had acted to eliminate them. He said that after the mistake was realised, they were ‘all in pain’.

Pray: for the families of the dead and for those injured. Pray also that the threat from Boko Haram will be eliminated with the minimum of loss and injury. (Ps. 146:9)
More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-38654991

Nigeria: army arrests 963 BH suspects

On Wednesday the Nigerian army said it had arrested 963 persons suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists during an operation between 4 and 9 January. Commander Lucky Irabor said, ‘On 3 January four women and thirteen children were apprehended by vigilantes and were later handed over to our troops. Preliminary investigation revealed that the women were wives of Boko Haram terrorists who fled from Sambisa forest as a result of our operations. All suspects are now in our custody undergoing investigation. On 5 January, following a tip-off, troops arrested four Boko Haram suspects at Shuwari village. Also on 5 January, 119 Nigerian Internal Displacement Persons (IDPs) were handed over to Nigerian troops at Banki by the Cameroonian forces. On 9 January, a surrendered Boko Haram member was identified as a male sympathiser and spy in Monguno area.’

Pray: for the innocent people, that they may live out their lives in safety. (1 Cor. 7:15)
More: www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/nnorth-east/220196-nigerian-army-arrest-963-boko-haram-suspects-borno.html

First BAME bishop for 20 years

One month after a large group of black and minority-ethnic (BAME) clergy wrote a letter criticising the lack of non-white senior clergy in the CofE, Downing Street has announced the appointment of the first BAME bishop for twenty years. The next Bishop of Woolwich will be the Vicar of St John’s, Upper Holloway, Revd Woyin Karo­wei Dorgu. The 58-year-old was born and brought up in Nigeria, and worked as a GP before training for ordination. He has been Vicar of St John’s since 2000. ‘We are greatly honoured to be invited to share and contribute to this dynamic ministry of bringing God’s love to the people of Wool­wich and the diocese,’ Revd Dorgu said. Speaking to reporters, he said, ‘I want to encourage BAME vocations and more participation in ministry. I will celebrate the divers­ity in race, ability, gender, sexuality, and class. Celebrating our differ­ences is a gift.’

Pray: for Revd Dorgu as he takes up his new post, and for all BAME clergy to be encouraged in their ministries. (Gal. 3:28)
More: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2016/23-december/news/uk/first-bame-episcopal-appointment-for-20-years

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