March 18, 2014
The emergency situation in South Sudan is showing signs of worsening. Since the conflict began in mid-December last year, and ABM launched an emergency appeal, almost 1 million people have become internally displace or have fled the country.
Violence has been escalating and has resulted in many people fleeing from their homes, impacting significantly on other states and surrounding countries. Innocent men, women and children are dying from hunger and disease.
The current South Sudan conflict crisis has stemmed from fighting that erupted amongst soldiers in December in the capital, Juba. This followed accusations by President Salva Kiir against the former Vice President, Riek Machar, of an attempted coup – Mr Machar denied this. The politicians come from different Sudanese ethnicities, and the unrest spread across the country, erupting into civil war.
The UN estimates that since mid-December 2013 some 708,900 people have been internally displaced by violence in the country, and many are in UN camps, and some in church compounds.
It is believed that approximately 222,000 have fled to neighbouring countries with that number estimated to be increasing at a rate of 980 per day. No-one knows the number dead, but some organisations say that numbers could be as high as 10,000 people. The rainy season has arrived a month early and areas of refuge have become flooded, and risk of spread of disease has increased.
The Most Rev Dr Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of the ECSSS wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury appealing for assistance in the church’s response to internally displaced and injured persons and to advocate for successful peace talks in Addis Ababa.
In January and February peace talks were held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These have been delayed once again due to further disagreements between the political factions. A ceasefire that was brokered is not holding in some areas of South Sudan, and fighting continues. The ECSSS continues to be involved in facilitating peace and reconciliation discussions between warring factions.
Recently there have been other emergencies closer to Australia that have captured our thoughts and prayers. The majority of people in South Sudan who are caught up in this civil unrest are not the cause of the fighting nor are they perpetuating it. These men, women and children are displaced, their homes, crops, families have been destroyed, and they have no recourse but to cry out for help.
Sudan Development Relief and Advocacy (SUDRA) is a branch of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and are leading the church’s response to relief needs in the central and northern parts of the country. ABM is standing with other Anglican organisations worldwide to assist our partner church in South Sudan to meet the immense needs in the country.
SUDRA’s Director, Rev’d Joseph Loabe is leading the response, even to the extent of travelling with the relief convoy to the north of the country to assess the situation and ensure goods reach the needy.
ABM’s Fundraising Manager, Christopher Brooks urges: “It is essential that we continue this partnership and support in this time of great need… the people of South Sudan need our support in this time of crisis so we aim to raise $50,000 to assist the church to meet urgent needs of displaced and injured people…”
The church has an infrastructure capable of responding to these emergencies and networks to ensure that emergency food and medical supplies get to where they are most needed – a network that complements large agencies and the UN response.
Please donate to this Emergency Appeal and help the people of South Sudan. Give online at www.abmission.org/southsudan or phone 1300 302 663.
The full letter from Archbishop Deng Bul Yak is available at www.abmission.org/southsudan
[Statistics taken from the UNOCHA situation reports at: http://www.unocha.org/south-sudan/reports-media/situation-reports