By Clare Creegan
A project partner of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has warned that the upsurge of fighting in South Sudan will mean a worsening of the humanitarian crisis affecting millions of civilians.
One of the Catholic charity’s South Sudanese project partners, who cannot be named for security reasons, described how renewed violence in Juba has caused immense suffering and increased insecurity amongst its people.
Referring to calls from the governments of neighboring countries Uganda and Kenya for their citizens to leave South Sudan, he said, “The way the various governments all over the world are panicking and acting shows that they fear that something terrible is still to happen.”
“One can even hear that ‘the worst is still to come!’”
The religious Brother also described how the South Sudanese people were prohibited from leaving the country and were suffering from food shortages – but thanked ACN for their solidarity.
He said, “Let’s pray that the nightmare in Juba and all around the country is soon coming to an end.”
“People just cannot stand this hell any longer. I am seeing people leaving Juba in big numbers, mostly to Uganda, whenever they find a possibility and when they can afford it.”
Through the Church, 1,385 registered families – which numbered 7,183 displaced people – were able to receive support at St. Paul’s Seminary campus in Juba.
The renewed fighting is a major setback for South Sudan’s peace process which had been troubled by ceasefire violations and localized outbreaks of violence since the peace agreement signed by rival leaders President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar in August 2015.
Tensions came to a head on July 7, following an attack in Juba close to where the President and Vice President were meeting.
Continued fighting is reported to have left more than 300 dead and the death toll is expected to rise as fears of a return to civil war increase.
Aid to the Church in Need is supporting ongoing projects in South Sudan including aid to help build a presbytery for the newly established parish in Barsherki in the Diocese of Wau.
In 2015, the charity also gave more than $950,000 to fund the Church’s pastoral work with refugees in South Sudan.
With picture of people waiting for transportation to escape the violence (© ACN)
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.
For more information contact Michael Varenne at email@example.com or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384. www.churchinneed.org