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Water, LRA emergency response, TamburaYambio, Credits: Bridget Burrows/CAFOD

Water, LRA emergency response, TamburaYambio,
Credits: Bridget Burrows/CAFOD

In a major joint project with United Nations and EU agencies, Caritas is providing emergency aid to victims of LRA attacks in Southern Sudan. Around 1.8 million refugees and displaced people returned to their homes in Southern Sudan over the last years as the fighting finally seemed to have come to an end after twenty years of civil war. Many people had been away from home all those years.

Just as they were returning however, inter-tribal violence and attacks from the Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) sparked off again, killing an estimated 250 people. Around 100,000 people had to flee their homes once more in 2009.

Caritas is providing 400,000 euro to help 5,000 households in the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, Western Equatoria. The aid  includes paying the salaries of support staff for water, sanitation and hygiene activities, peace building projects and distributions of seeds, tools, household kits and food.  Sudan is the country with the most internally displaced people (IDP) in the world. 2.7 million Sudanese are still displaced, many of them depend on humanitarian aid.

In addition to problems arising from conflict and displacement, South Sudan suffered a major food crisis in 2009, leaving one out of two children suffering from malnutrition.

Hopefully, the 2011 referendum over the independence of South Sudan will be a further step towards democratic transition. It could however trigger new conflict in this already fragile region.

The Caritas project responds to most urgent needs but also promotes activities which empower people and give them hope for the future. Many people have lost their family and homes. Lina Ngbadeegbe was particularly hard-hit. She lost four family members in exile. Thanks to 36-year-old Elvira Raphael, an IDP herself, 53-year-old Lina won’t have to walk for hours to get water anymore. Caritas trained Elvira to be a pump mechanic, she is now providing access to water to other IDPs.

The LRA are infamous for abducting children to act as soldiers or sex slaves. The rebels make abductees undergo brutal discipline and induction, including cutting body parts and killing family members. Taritizio Nzeme‘s 12-year-old son was abducted by LRA rebels. His 14-year-old grandson John was lucky. While he was with Taritizio’s son during the abduction, he managed to escape from the rebels. Taritizio and his family received household kits from Caritas.

Read their stories

Conflict in Sudan: Taritizio Nzeme son was abducted.
Conflict in Sudan: John Bakoyego, a teenager who escaped abduction
Conflict in Sudan: Lina Ngbadeegbe lost four family members in exile.
Conflict in Sudan: How Elvira Raphael serves her community