*Warning: content includes mention of violence that may be upsetting to some readers.
Ancha is 70 years old. When the militia came to her village, burning homes and killing people, she ran. She had no choice. ‘I ran away from war,’ she tells us. ‘It was 4am…There were naked people fleeing into the bush, others pulling their children.
‘We had no options [but to run]. If they found you, they cut your throat.’
Ancha tells how people died of hunger or sun exposure after being forced from their homes. ‘I spent 11 days in the bush, not eating, not bathing.’ she says. ‘The [militia] killed our goats in our villages. They burned everything including… every house with everything it had – be it mosquito nets, dishes, chairs… There were deaths of soldiers [sent to protect the village] as well as civilians, including children. Other people were burned inside their houses…’
Shockingly, she describes seeing people walking, carrying their dead children on their backs. ‘We have to pray a lot. A lot! Asking God for this war to end.’
Ancha and her surviving family have sought shelter in a camp in a different village, but she fears that one day the attackers will make it to this place too. The worry keeps her awake at night.
When Ancha lived her peaceful life at home, she used to grow and harvest rice and cashews to sell. She was able to feed her children well and they had a house where they were comfortable. Now, they have nothing apart from what the government and aid agencies can give them.
As well as the violence in the region, worsening tropical storms have caused widespread destruction of homes, schools, medical centres and crops. Covid-19 has stretched resources further and now the war in Ukraine is making access to food even harder.
Right now, your support will enable our local church partners to provide the essentials people like Ancha and her family urgently need to survive – food, access to clean water, and items like tents, blankets, mosquito nets and torches.