Prayers for Sierra Leone
The first case of COVID-19 reaching Sierra Leone was reported on 31 March.
As of today, the number of those tested as infectious has risen to seven, with no reported deaths. According to APO (an African Press Consultancy) there are a further 243 people currently in quarantine.
To reduce the risk of infection spreading, the Government put in place an intitial three-day lock-down from Sunday. Schools have closed, religious gatherings are banned and restrictions are in place for international travel and entry into the country.
One of the main fears experienced by inhabitants of Sierra Leone is the scale of poverty and overcrowding, which substantially increases their vulnerability.
Added to this, they have recent memories of the outbreak of Ebola, which acutely revealed their lack of resources in responding to epidemics and providing effective medical treatment for those affected.
Please may we ask for the Connexion Community to join us in prayer for assistance and protection during this crisis, for the people and children in our local communities and as a whole in Sierra Leone.
As previously reported, two containers that are bound for Bethesda were dispatched back in November from St Ives. They arrived in Freetown Port on 5 December, and that is where they have remained. The hold-up is due to issues with bureaucracy - a situation that threatened to run up additional costs, due to a controversy regarding the NGO status of the goods.
Unfortunately, the situation has since worsened, with an order issued to charge £15,000 to cover import duty for the two containers and their contents.
Clearly, this is devastating news. The exceedingly high figure is both completely unaffordable and wholly unnecessary. The authorities dispute that Duty Free for organisations, such as Bethesda, is only applicable to ‘purely religious items’ for example, bibles, and to qualify for Duty Free, Bethesda would need to have NGO status, rather than community-based NGO, which is the Bethesda category.
Please may we ask you to join us in prayer for this situation. That God will bring about a fair decision to release and enable these containers to swiftly reach the children in Bethesda, at no additional cost.
'With God, all things are possible.' (Matthew 19:26)
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