Monday, February 04, 2008
Family Update from Chad
This is Nate filling in for Sarah Kay on the latest from our family in volatile Chad.
Although, it looked like things had calmed down, late Saturday night (early Sunday morning N'djamena time) more intense violence errupted in the city.
3:30 AM 02/04/08: Reuben my older brother called me from the town of Kousseri on the Chad-Cameroun border. He had been in Nigeria visiting friends and his Fiance. Once news broke that rebles had entered the capital city of N'djamena and sourrounded the president at his palace, my brother rushed back.
On a three way call with my mom, we learned that hundreds upon hundreds of Chadians have been pouring accross the border into Kousseri. Many were hurt by stray bullets and shrapnel from grenades and heavy artillery. My brother indicated that the church where he was located were full of people and that they were still coming. From his vantage point, he can see the city of N'djamena burning. The airport, banks, markets, cellular networks, and many other critical infrastructure are not working.
Becuase of all of this, my brother who works for ExxonMobile, has only a limited supply of cash on hand (enough to feed the family for a day). He is currently looking for a western union so I can wire him some money to get them through another few days or however long the crisis lasts. The big prayer issue is that my grandmother (my mom's mom) is still in the city and we are awaiting word that she has safely crossed the border. My uncle Joshua's children and most of the cousins that live with my brother are safe in Cameroun. We've no word on my uncle Nathan and his family. We are hoping to hear soon. My father is stuck in Madagascar. He tried to get on the flight, which transits through Paris, however Air France would not let him on. They put him on a Tuesday flight. We'll see if he can leave then.
The United Nations has set up a a rapid Refugee camp; however, they are very ill prepared right now. Reuben stated that he heard that the UN is trying to get supplies to them from further inside Cameroun. The situation remains very fluid with the rebels saying they control the city and the government stating the opposite. Everyone crossing the border said that the rebels had asked everyody to leave the city because they were going to make another run at toppling president Idriss Deby's government.
Please pray for the safety of our extended family and for wisdom for my brother Reuben who is taking on, with a few others, leadership responsibilites for masses of people. We apprecaite your thoughts and prayers. More updates to come. We are expecting a call from Reuben at around 6:00 AM central time. Pray he finds a Wester Union station and that the remainder of my family gets over. Also, pray for my mom in Ames who is waiting for news as well, especially from her mother.
President Idriss Deby, pictured here, who is fighting to stay in power.