South Sudan Appeal Launched *Updated

by Gerry Lynch last modified 14 Jun, 2018 03:05 PM

Diocese launches appeal to support sister church's work in relieving needs and building long-term reconciliation.

South Sudan Appeal Launched *Updated

Internally displaced people in a camp near Bor. Photo Credit: UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Since early December there has been terrible fighting in South Sudan.  Although a ceasefire is holding in parts of the country, conflict continues in other regions. A report published last week by Médecins Sans Frontières says that the speed and scale of the violence over the past six weeks in South Sudan has been unprecedented.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s very recent brief visit to South Sudan gave him a vivid experience of the scale on the problem. In Bor, where there had been 250,000 people, the streets were almost empty and many of the buildings destroyed. 3,000 had been buried, a similar number had not.  He could smell death. When they came to St Andrew’s Cathedral the bodies of 20 clergy and lay workers were laid out and Archbishop Justin was asked to bless a mass grave. The anger at those who did this is very great.

Our fellow Anglicans in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan are on the ground responding directly to the crisis. Their development agency, the Sudan Relief Agency (SUDRA), has the expertise, experience and networks to make sure assistance goes to these who need it most, as quickly as possible. That's why we've launched a Diocesan appeal that will run from now through Lent to Easter for help the Episcopal Church and SUDRA. After Easter, when we are through this first phase of immediate humanitarian response, we will ask again for help with more targeted projects where our contribution will make a difference to the rebuilding of people’s lives and the stability of the world’s newest and possibly most troubled State.

As well as providing immediate relief, the South Sudanese Church is providing courageous moral leadership at a time of great peril, speaking out against political and ethnic factionalism and cautioning against revenge.

In response to the immediate needs we have already sent £13,500 -  £10,000 to the Episcopal Church’s Sudan Relief Agency’s for their initial response, and £3,500 to support a meeting of their House of Bishops where they talked, prayed and planned their response to the crisis. An excellent communiqué has been issued by the Bishops with a recognition of the deep and difficult work that is needed for peace and reconciliation.    

The latest report from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) estimates nearly ¾ million people have been displaced within South Sudan. Another 130,400 have fled to nearby countries. As the scale of this crisis becomes clearer, it is estimated that 3.7 million people are at high risk of food insecurity. Bishop Hilary Garang e-mailed two weeks ago and said he had never known such violence and so many deaths.  Malakal has been destroyed. The number of people being forced to leave their homes and livelihoods has meant that as well as meeting urgent health needs, displaced people need fundamental support such as food, shelter and water.

Our partnership with the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan is over 40 years old. We were reminded last year that when the link started in 1973 it was so that informed prayer would lead to informed giving.  In 2013, our Diocese contributed approximately £240,000 to the work of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, which included some £90,000 on Medical care.  Considerable financial support is also give through Deanery and personal links and via a variety of funds to the Juba Secondary School, nearly £500,000 in all.

UPDATE: This appeal is now closed.

Learn more - "Archbishop prays at site of murdered church workers in Bor" on the Archbishop of Canterbury's website.

Anglican Communion News Service: Church Agencies Unite to Support South Sudan Relief and Recovery.

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