Every two seconds, someone in the world was forcibly displaced in 2017, according to a new report by the U.N. Refugee Agency. Due to wars, violence and persecution, 68.5 million people were forced to flee their homes by the end of 2017 — a record high and a trend that has continued for five years.
Displaced people include internally displaced people (people who remain in their own countries) as well as refugees (people who cross international borders). They often end up in large camps where environmental health measures are insufficient. More than half of those displaced were children, many unaccompanied or separated from their parents, the UNHCR’s Global Trends report found.
The vast majority of the displacements affected developing nations, and overwhelmingly consisted of people who fled their homes but remained inside their own country. Apart from the Syrian refugees, the crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo, war in South Sudan and the plight of 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh, were big contributors to the displaced population in 2017. Just these five countries — Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia — accounted for two-thirds of all the world’s refugees, if excluding long-term Palestinians under the U.N.’s care. In 2017, Turkey remained the largest host nation, with a population of 3.5 million refugees, while Lebanon had the greatest number in comparison to its population.
Praying for developing countries
– Pastor Maymie Lau
Lord Jesus Christ, we remember that in your infancy you were a refugee. God of protection, whose Son fled violence from his own home with Joseph and Mary and sought refuge in a foreign land, hear the cries of all who suffer because of hatred, war, violence, greed, and famine.
God Who makes us One, we pray for our nation and all the nations of the world, that those who govern the people and have authority over them may consider each life to be of value and may serve the people of their nation with equity and fairness, dedicating themselves to peaceful resolution of conflict.
Help us to peacefully mend our divisions, to grow in compassion for those who are displaced from their homes in our day. Help us not to see them only as problems, statistics or threats. Help us to see refugees as fellow humans who have been forced to flee their homes.
O God, we know refugees and displaced persons must make excruciating decisions, and we ask for your mercy upon them.
We ask for mercy for parents who take children from their homes. Mercy for those who choose to stay for whatever reasons and who live with severe consequences for those choices. We ask for mercy for those whose housing is inadequate – cold in winter, hot in summer, insufficient for privacy or hygiene or satisfaction.
We also pray for the situations that have led to the refugee crises in our world. We pray for those who promote extremist ideologies, we pray for repressive regimes, and we pray for human smugglers and traffickers, may they repent from their sinful acts lest your judgment falls on them.
Help us O Lord, to be compassionate and to know how we can help those who have been displaced. Give us courage and strength to be people of compassion and justice in the face of complex and overwhelming demands. We know that you love all people, dear Lord. Help us to be the instruments of your love and peace in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
If you are interested in knowing more about RHCCC’s PEACE program in developing countries or would like to participate in this ministry, please contact Pastor Maymie Lau.