[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Alliance is helping to coordinate the response from Anglican churches and agencies around the world to the ongoing violence in South Sudan. A few days ago, they convened a conference call for partners across the Anglican Communion to hear from and speak with the leadership of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS) and its relief and development arm SUDRA (the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency).
During the call, SUDRA outlined its initial need for support for the 200 families seeking shelter in the All Saints’ Cathedral Compound. Episcopal Relief & Development of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church confirmed it would provide the necessary assistance.
SUDRA has issued a second proposal to address the food needs of some 14,400 internally displaced people (IDP), as they assess the emerging needs. The proposal focuses on highly vulnerable children, women and elderly people in Juba, Kajo Keji, Yei, Lainya, and Rejaf.
“SUDRA aims to meet the survival needs of the most vulnerable in the first month while it advocates with humanitarian agencies to meet other needs and explore long-term solutions until peace is implemented,” the co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, the Rev. Rachel Carnegie, told ACNS. “This proposal has been shared with partners within the Anglican Alliance family, and already the Anglican Board of Mission in Australia has indicated its support.”
During the conference call, the ECSSS leadership told their Anglican Communion partners that nearly 42,000 people were initially displaced in Juba, many turning to the churches for sanctuary. They explained that many people may be afraid to go back as they are uncertain if the ceasefire will actually hold. Some who want to return have seen their homes looted or destroyed and need further assistance.
Markets have also been looted, so there may be imminent food shortages particularly as the borders are closed and there are limited imports of food supplies. There have been similar outbreaks of violence in Lainya, Yei, Kajo Keji, and Wau.
“The violence in South Sudan and the subsequent insecurity in the region has forced several international agencies to evacuate their personnel from the country,” Carnegie said. “The church, locally based, stands in the breach, protecting the most vulnerable.”
“It is inspirational to witness the courage and commitment of the bishops and provincial team responding so quickly and effectively to the crisis when many of them have themselves been driven from their homes by the violence. We urge prayer for peace and for protection of the church and communities. The Anglican Alliance also commends support to the Church’s humanitarian response.”