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Chad, a French colony that gained independence from France in 1960, has never achieved true stability. Rebel groups opposed to the central government — which is widely considered to be corrupt — have long been active in the eastern and northern parts of the country. In May 2006, war broke out in the capital city of N'Djamena itself, but the scope of casualties then was far below what has happened early this month.

Amid fierce fighting between government and rebel forces, who were hoping to topple the regime of President Idriss Deby, tens of thousands of people fled N'Djamena. Many of those refugees have ended up in Madana refugee camp in Kosseri, Cameroon.

According to the United Nations, 37,000 refugees were living in Kosseri by February 9.

World Vision has served in Chad since 1985. Their team in Madana has identified a local church to work through and is preparing for further aid to the Chadian refugees. One of the Christian aid agency's relief experts, Ann Birch, has been photographing the people and writing down their stories.

"This country has huge potential both in terms of human potential and economic potential," Birch said. "And [it's a] tragedy to see a country like this just not ever enjoying peace. I think Chadians would like to see people outside of Chad joining with them and praying for peace and a lasting solution to Chad's problems."

Chad has seen a remarkable growth in its Christian population over the last 30 years, according to Torrey Olsen, senior director for World Vision programs. Most estimates now say that more than one third of the general population is Christian.

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For more on what World Vision is doing in Chad, check out its website.

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Fleeing from Chad, Waiting for Peace
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February 2008

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