Episcopal Relief and Development reports on the whole-hearted response from the churches to the troubles in South Sudan.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with its partners in South Sudan as they respond to the humanitarian needs of people displaced by the current crisis. The Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS) has established nine relief centers in Awerial to provide supplies and pastoral care to people who have fled violence in the nearby town of Bor. The Church’s relief and development arm, SUDRA (the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency), reports that nearly 76,000 people from Bor are currently sheltering at churches, schools and under trees in Awerial. Many of the displaced arrived on boats via the Nile River, which separates Jonglei State from Lakes State.
The most recent outbreak of civil unrest in South Sudan erupted on December 15, 2013, in the country’s capital, Juba. Conflict between two armed elements within the South Sudan Presidential Guard – one loyal to President Salva Kiir and one to former Vice President Riek Machar – spread from Juba through seven out of the country’s ten states. Clashes between the two groups over control of key towns such as Bor and Malakal has led to the displacement of around 194,000 people. Some have crossed into neighboring countries, and approximately 54,000 are seeking refuge at UN bases inside South Sudan, but thousands are sheltering out in the open with little security and scant supplies.
“The scale of the displacement, combined with limited local resources and infrastructure for absorbing large populations at short notice, presents numerous challenges,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development. “People look to the Church for care and leadership in times of crisis, and ECSSS has responded wholeheartedly, opening doors and mobilizing available resources to help those in need.”