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Peace team rushes aid to Assam clash victims

Relief reaches thousands left homeless after border violence

Displaced Kuki tribal victims of the ethnic clashes outside a camp in Assam, India Displaced Kuki tribal victims of the ethnic clashes outside a camp in Assam, India
  • ucanews.com reporters, Guwahati
  • India
  • January 18, 2011
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A Church-initiated joint peace mission team is providing emergency humanitarian aid to the victims of recent ethnic clashes in Assam, northeastern India.

“We are providing items that are most needed,” said Allen Brooks, a member of the team.

Relief items include tarpaulin sheets for roofing and shelters, blankets, baby food, rice and medicine.

Brooks said that since it is winter, shelter and blankets are the most essential requirements. “Other agencies are already providing food items,” he added.

About 10 people were killed on New Year’s Day amid clashes between members of the Rabha tribe in Assam and people from the Garo tribe in Meghalaya. Over 30,000 people were left homeless after 1,500 houses in 90 villages along the Assam-Meghalaya border were torched. Local authorities have established 40 camps to provide shelter for the homeless.

CASA (Churches Auxiliary for Social Action), the outreach arm of 24 Protestant and Orthodox churches in India is supplying relief material to the victims.

The Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI) yesterday sent a truck with aid supplies.

“The task is gigantic but we are trying to do the best from the limited resources we have,” said CBCNEI relief coordinator Athungo Shitiri.

Missionary Sisters of Charity Sister Gale, who visited the camps to distribute clothes said, “We met people from 13 villages in one camp and we supplied them with food, clothing and especially blankets, because people are suffering from the cold.”

Amrit Kumar Goldsmith, another member of the peace team, said they obtained permission from district authorities to distribute material directly to those affected.

“We have 3,000 blankets, 2,000 tarpaulins, 5 tons of flattened rice and 1,000 cans of baby food,” he added.

According to media reports, about 3,000 people have already returned home.
Most people from the Garo tribe are Christians, mainly Baptists.

Related reports
Church Distributes Aid, Works For Peace Among Clashing Groups
Refugees From Decade-Old Ethnic Clashes Continue Living In Relief Camps

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