CAFOD responds to crisis in South Sudan

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As fighting in Jonglei State forces 180,000 people from their homes, we are continuing to support families whose lives have been torn apart by war.

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Recent clashes in the troubled South Sudanese state of Jonglei have forced an estimated 180,000 people to flee their homes. With some towns almost completely abandoned, many families are thought to be taking refuge in forests and scrubland, surviving off wild leaves and fruit. Others have fled to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, or crossed into Ethiopia, Kenya or Uganda as refugees.

The crisis has been sparked by conflict between rival tribes and between the South Sudanese army and the David Yau Yau rebel group, which the South Sudanese government alleges is supported by Sudan. There have been reports of civilians being beaten and killed during the fighting, and of villages being looted.

As the rainy season begins, roads are becoming impassable, which will make it extremely difficult for aid agencies to provide food, clean water or healthcare in remote areas. The rains could also increase the spread of malaria and water-borne diseases.

Reaching those most in need

As part of Caritas International – a coalition of Catholic aid agencies around the world – CAFOD has been working in Sudan and South Sudan for many years to support people whose lives have been torn apart by war.

We are leading Caritas’s work with refugees in Upper Nile state, while our sister agency Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in Jonglei.

CAFOD’s Raphael Wamae said: “At the moment there are thousands of people living in the wild in Jonglei, and we don’t know how they are coping. It is an extremely disturbing situation, and our partner Catholic Relief Services is preparing to respond.

“Meanwhile, a team from CAFOD is continuing to work further north, in Upper Nile state, where more than 115,000 refugees from Sudan have been living in camps since last year.

“We are helping thousands of those refugees to establish home gardens or start small businesses. Without this support, they would not only have to rely on handouts, but also have little hope of their situation changing in the foreseeable future.

“The local Church has a unique ability to reach those most in need in South Sudan. We are doing everything we can to help them to deliver aid to families who have lost everything in these devastating conflicts.”

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