Reports from the church in South Sudan have highlighted their significant response to communities affected by ongoing conflict in the region.
Many of the displaced have been provided with food, and advocacy to the government has ensured land has been secured for those still relying on the support of host communities.
Since fighting broke out in December last year, 803,200 people have been displaced within South Sudan. Another 270,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries – of the 1,000 people who arrive daily in Ethiopia, 95 per cent are women and children (UNOCHA report, 3rd April 2014).
A recent update from SUDRA, the church’s development arm in South Sudan, comments on the still desperate needs of displaced communities across the nation. Whilst funding from Anglican agencies is being channelled to the relief response, many more people need support.
A recent development in Nimule, which is on the border with Uganda, has resulted in 35,000 people requiring food, rather than the original 9,000 that SUDRA had expected to feed.
More funding is required to continue to feed displaced people – half of the initial appeal for $600,000 has been met, and Anglican agencies are calling on churches and individuals to support those in need and give what they can.
PWRDF recently announced more funds for the crisis, to provide relief to newly arrived refugees at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
And CMS-UK are calling for increased support as they highlight the increased numbers of those who need aid.
In a recent telephone conference with the Anglican Alliance, Joseph El Haj Loabe, the Acting Manager at SUDRA, said: “Because food assistance to displaced people has not been enough, people have been walking to the major cities to conjure up any available food, that lasts a day or two. Some pluck leaves off trees and boil them to eat.”
The Anglican Alliance has supported SUDRA by coordinating fortnightly calls to bring the agencies involved together. These include: Episcopal Relief & Development, Primates World Relief and Developemnt Fund, Anglican Board of Mission, Anglican Overseas Aid, CMS-UK, the Mothers’ Union, Tearfund, Christian Aid, Salisbury-Sudan Link and The Episcopal Church.
The agencies have been supporting SUDRA through a combined proposal for this relief phase. Other partners are now joining the call and planning support for SUDRA for the next phase. In addition, Christian Aid and Tearfund have worked closely with Joseph El Haj Loabe on the ground in Juba.
With the rainy season starting soon, there are concerns that access to remote areas will be restricted, and the situation facing displaced communities will worsen.
You can still support relief efforts in South Sudan through the appeals posted on our website. And continue to keep the work of ECSSS and SUDRA in your prayers.
For the next phase of the Church’s outreach, the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission (JPRC) of the ECSSS is holding a three-day training-of-trainers workshop with the Bishops of South Sudan. This will equip them in peace building, advocacy and reconciliation.
External consultants have been hired to conduct this training with the aim that the Bishops would then train others (Mothers Union workers, lay leaders and clergy) to lead reconciliation activities in their home diocese.
In the picture: Internally displaced people from the town of Bor have set up a camp in Awerial.