Praying for peace as South Sudan turns three
9 Jul 2014 | Blog | Sudan | Emergency Relief
Three years ago today was a time of cautious rejoicing – South Sudan had gained its independence, and the world’s newest nation was born. The event flagged a time of hope and anticipation after four decades of civil war and fighting. Despite the many challenges they faced in building a new nation, the people of South Sudan had a positive attitude.
Three years later, the situation is a stark contrast to this hope and optimism. There is unrest throughout the country, and hundreds of thousands of people are displaced, fleeing from conflict.
The current crisis in South Sudan began in December 2013 when fighting erupted in military barracks in the capital city of Juba. The fighting then spread into the rest of the country, causing the people to flee from their homes. Although ceasefire had been agreed to on a number of occasions, sporadic fighting has continued, and hundreds of thousands of people fear for their safety. It is estimated that over 10,000 people have died as a result of the fighting, and those who have been displaced have fled with very little, seeking protection wherever they can find.
CAFOD (Caritas UK) reports that “the country is teetering on the brink of catastrophe as it faces its worst food crisis in 25 years, brought about by the ongoing conflict.”
After the current crisis began, Caritas Australia supported an emergency program for those who had been displaced by the conflict. We helped provide food, health services and access to water to 20,000 vulnerable households across 7 dioceses.
Although this emergency program has now concluded, Caritas Australia is continuing to work in South Sudan on our long term development programs. These programs are:
- Helping communities improve access to clean water and basic sanitation through drilling new water points and constructing pit latrines
- Increasing awareness and understanding of HIV and AIDS, providing support to people living with these conditions, and encouraging voluntary testing for people in the communities
- Providing vulnerable households with livestock, seeds, fishing equipment and training in sustainable farming. This program was featured in Project Compassion 2014.
Fortunately these programs have not been directly affected by fighting in the country. However the Caritas network is anxiously watching the situation and continuing to pray for peace in the South Sudan.
So instead of celebrating on this third anniversary of the world’s youngest nation, we ask you to join us in praying for unity and peace in South Sudan.
Find out more about our long-term work in Sudan and South Sudan
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