Violence in Orissa

Christians who lost their homes are still living in tents, many since the first attack in December 2007. Christian Aid sent funds to rebuild, but the ministries must wait for government approval before they can start construction.

July 31, 2009

Christians are still recovering in the aftermath of persecution and natural disaster in India

In a period of just eight months, Christians in the State of Orissa, India, suffered two waves of persecution and a major flood. The first crisis began on Christmas Eve day in 2007, now referred to as "Black Christmas." Hindu fanatics first attacked Christians in Kandhamal. The terror spread out to surrounding villages. Tensions continued to escalate throughout the New Year, while the number of deaths, destruction, and homelessness rose.

Though their church building was destroyed, Christians gather under a simple structure to worship the Lord.

Next, in June of 2008 incessant rains flooded the already devastated areas in Orissa. Nearly 3 million people were affected and 93 died. But even these floods did not dampen the fervor of the extremists.

In August of 2008 another major riot erupted. More people were killed, some burned alive in their homes. No one will ever know the exact number of deaths or displaced people, nor of the property, homes, and churches destroyed, as a result of these tragedies.

In 2009 Christian Aid is still receiving letters expressing concerns from ministries in Orissa. Missionary leader, Naik, of Love Your Neighbor, wrote:

Rice is provided to Christians in Orissa through gifts from Christian Aid.

"My heart goes out for my people. I do not want them to be alone in their suffering. I visit Kandhamal and Raikia (a government relief camp) frequently. I could do this because of the prayers and assistance provided through Christian Aid. I was able to obtain relief materials to take to them. The believers all gathered around me to receive, but I could not satisfy all. I sat with them, listened to them, cried with them, and we prayed together."

He also mentioned his coworker, Jaya Chandra Prodhan. "He is a Kond tribal man, called to be a missionary among his people four years ago. He and his group of believers are all living at the relief camp in Raikia. Their houses were burned and their property stolen or destroyed. He is still there, having prayer meetings and worship services in the camp. Pray for him."

It is apparent everywhere that basic needs are still lacking. As help from Christian Aid arrives, these missionaries will continue to serve those in the greatest need.

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