Christian aid workers and evangelists in Sri Lanka continue to risk their lives to provide emergency aid and share the Gospel despite renewed fighting this week on the island nation.
As of Friday, 37 combatants were killed this week between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger rebels, reported Agence France-Presse.
Yet despite current dangers and expectation for the violence to worsen in upcoming weeks, Christian humanitarian agencies such as World Vision and Action by Churches Together (ACT) persist in delivering critical aid to civilians caught in the crossfire.
In the past week, WV has distributed water, food, mats, tarps for shelter, water containers and other needed items to families in displacement camps and in the area, according to the groups recent report.
WV, which has worked in Sri Lanka for 30 years, expressed concern for the thousands of victims forced from their homes and trapped in the northern and eastern provinces. More than 155,000 people are living in refugee camps, according to Christian relief and development agency.
In addition, fighting has obstructed supply routes by land leading to prices for essential items to sky-rocket, according to ACT, whose member, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), is handing out emergency relief supplies in the country together with its partners. The high prices coupled with the lack of a stable livelihood have made the lives of some 500,000 people in Jaffna Peninsular a veritable nightmare, reported the global church network. There is also a massive shortage of food where fighting has destroyed crops.
Other concerns for the eastern province include lack of clean water, sanitation facilities, and urgent need for medical assistance.
Also, in spite of the violence, some evangelists have continued their work of spreading the Gospel in Sri Lankas fighting zones.
Carl Moeller, president of persecution watchdog Open Doors, said that despite the fact some churches are burnt in the violence and Christians persecuted, evangelists are still entering areas directly affected by the violence.
What I think is important for people to realize is that, in the midst of trouble and persecution, often the hope that people turn to and cling to in Jesus Christ is the only hope that they can find for a desperate situation, Moeller told Mission Network News.
Sri Lanka has suffered from a two-decade civil war which officially ended in 2002 when a truce was signed between the Sri Lankan elected government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The United Nations estimates that 70,000 have been killed and 465,000 displaced by the conflict. In 2006 alone, the death toll was over 3,000 people.