February 4, 2013

A decade in Darfur: challenges and progress

By |4 February 2013|

By Laura Sheahen “When we first came here, we were getting water from the valley, seven kilometers away.” Muhammad is a long-time resident of a camp in Darfur for people who fled violence. He remembers what it was like nearly a decade ago, when thousands of desperate people first arrived. “Farmers were settled closer to the valley, so we couldn’t live where the water was. But when we went to get water, they helped us.” Ten years later, hundreds of thousands of people remain in Darfur’s camps. They’d like to go back to their villages, but until they can, Caritas-funded programmes are making sure they can live in dignity. 2013 marks 10 years of keeping vulnerable Darfuris alive and making their lives better. Water is one example of the progress that’s been made. Muhammad’s camp is on dry, dusty land—some thorn trees, scrub brush, and baobabs grow there, but not much else. [...]

July 3, 2012

South Sudan one year on

By |3 July 2012|

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation on 9 July 2011. Twelve months later, we celebrate the achievements of the people and churches of South Sudan and of Caritas South Sudan and its Caritas partners in working towards peace and development. The challenge has been huge. South Sudan has started life as one of the world's poorest countries. A third of children do not see their fifth birthday, half the population lives in extreme poverty, only a third of people are literate. Millions of people were forced from their homes and now have started to return. They must build their nation from scratch. The road has not been an easy one. Conflict in the Nuba Mountains and Abyei has spiralled into serious humanitarian emergencies. Clashes between Sudan and South Sudan or with rebel fighters have taken lives and wreaked havoc on infrastructure like water systems, as well as education. Caritas has worked in partnership [...]

May 17, 2012

Caritas helping stranded South Sudanese return home

By |17 May 2012|

Caritas staff and volunteers have been working flat out all over South Sudan to prepare for the return of refugees from north Sudan. In Juba, between 12-15,0000 returnees stranded in Kosti in the White Nile State in north Sudan are expected to arrive over the next few weeks by plane. The governor of White Nile State, citing insecurity concerns, said that the presence of over 12,000 South Sudanese in Kosti is no longer tolerated and they have to move before 5 May. The South Sudanese from Kosti are travelling to Khartoum and then flying down to Juba. Caritas Juba with the support of the Caritas Coordination Unit is helping get a site outside Juba ready for the returnees. Today, 700 returnees have arrived at the site according to the Sudan Catholic Radio Network. Caritas Juba Emergency Coordinator Agnes Serafino said that 16 volunteers were offloading building equipments provided by IOM (the International [...]

April 25, 2012

Crisis in South Sudan and Sudan

By |25 April 2012|

People in Sudan and South Sudan face a humanitarian crisis if the two countries continue along the path to war. Months of clashes have intensified in recent weeks bringing the two civil war adversaries close to all out conflict. Caritas says that only peaceful negotiation between the two sides can resolve their disputes, while a return to fighting will mean everyone loses. The stakes are high. Two million people were killed and four million forced from their homes in the decades long war that ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that led to South Sudan becoming independent in 2011. Both countries but especially South Sudan have very poor medical services, shortages of food are a constant preoccupation for the people and infrastructure is weak. There are fears that the 500,000 South Sudanese currently living in Sudan will flee south, sparking a huge refugee crisis. Caritas has been working on both side of the border [...]

Sudan and South Sudan must step back from war

By |24 April 2012|

Caritas Internationalis fears that a full scale war is imminent between Sudan and South Sudan with dire humanitarian consequences for both unless there is pull back from further military action. South Sudan became independent from Sudan last July following a popular vote. It was the culmination of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of war. However, areas of contention including border demarcation, the status of disputed areas in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile and oil rights still have not been resolved. The Caritas confederation of over 160 Catholic aid agencies fears that recent clashes over these issues have now brought the two countries to the brink. Caritas is also concerned over the use of extreme rhetoric by officials and that it is inciting an environment of fear. Attacks in Sudan on Christians such as the ransacking of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum on Saturday are deeply troubling. Over 500,000 South [...]

March 21, 2012

Good day sunshine: Powering up Darfur

By |21 March 2012|

Hazel Williams is the humanitarian coordinator for Darfur of CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales). She recently paid a visit to some of the many camps that house people who have fled fighting in the region. Caritas works with the Act Alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies in a unique ecumenical cooperation, through the operations of Norwegian Church Aid, Sudanaid (a Caritas member) and the Sudan Council of Churches. Solar power is making an extraordinary difference in camps in Darfur, Sudan, by providing much needed water to those living there. As we enter Khamsadigay camp, which houses just under 20,000 people, we weave through narrow alleys between the temporary structures that people have slowly erected over the last eight or nine years. It’s a Friday morning, so the dusty burnt orange sand tracks are illuminated by groups of flowing white galabiyas – the traditional robes that Dafurian men wear for Friday prayers. We […]

January 27, 2012

Poverty and conflict in South Sudan

By |27 January 2012|

By Rene Lambert, My colleague, Jane Andanje and I, flew in a small eight-seater plane from Juba to Boma Town in Jonglei, South Sudan. We were on our way to see how Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis might assist thousands recently displaced by conflict. In recent weeks, Boma, a small verdant mountain town of around 7,000 had swelled with the arrival of roughly 2,400 people displaced by inter-communal violence between two ethnic groups the Lou Nuer and the Murle. The U.N. estimates that more than 60,000 Murle fled their homes when around 8,000 armed Lou Nuer youth raided towns in search of stolen cattle and kidnapped children. Jonglei is one of South Sudan’s most underdeveloped states. It lacks most basic services like electricity, running water, paved roads, schools and healthcare facilities. Many believe these factors are catalysts for conflict. With limited opportunities, youth often resort to violence to amass resources. As [...]

Concerns mount over conflict in South Sudan

By |6 January 2012|

Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a Caritas member based in the US) is poised to respond to the declared emergency in Jonglei State in South Sudan, where an estimated 50,000 people have been displaced since late December due to ethnic conflict between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes that has claimed an estimated 1,000 lives in the past six months. “The current situation remains very fluid, with many families having fled their homes for other towns further away from the conflict,” says CRS South Sudan head of programming, Isaac Boyd. “Others have dispersed into the countryside, making it difficult to determine how many people are in need of immediate assistance. “Regardless of the exact number, United Nations (UN) and government reports from Jonglei indicate that many villages have been burnt to the ground, and affected families face the prospect of returning home to absolutely nothing,” Boyd says. “This includes the loss [...]

December 15, 2011

Caritas marks seven years of relief efforts in Darfur

By |15 December 2011|

2011 was a historic year for Sudan. It saw the secession of the southern part of the country from the North after one of Africa’s longest running civil wars. But in Sudan’s Darfur region conflict continued. More than 300,000 people have been killed since 2004 in Darfur and over 2.7 million people forced from their homes. Caritas Internationalis members provide food, clean water, health care and other humanitarian services regardless of social, religious or ethnic differences to over a million people in West and South Darfur through two programmes of work. A Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a US Caritas member) programme meets the immediate and long-term development needs of more than 500,000 people. Caritas also works with the Act Alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies in a unique ecumenical cooperation, through the operations of Norwegian Church Aid, Sudanaid (a Caritas member) and the Sudan Council of Churches. A joint Act-Caritas appeal for [...]

July 12, 2011

Stay with Sudan

By |12 July 2011|

South Sudan celebrates independence

By |12 July 2011|

Mass in South Sudan for a new nation

By |11 July 2011|

A day after the people of South Sudan came together to declare their independence, they converged on St. Teresa Cathedral of Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on July 10th to celebrate a special Mass dedicated to their new nationhood.

Happy Birthday South Sudan

By |10 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak Just six months after Southern Sudanese voted with an overwhelming majority to secede from the North, the new nation of South Sudan was born. Southern Sudanese turned out in the hundreds of thousands to witness the declaration of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan, and to celebrate a milestone they had been waiting for since a 2005 peace agreement that gave them the right to vote on whether to stay united with the north or form their own nation. People from all over Southern Sudan came to see first-hand the birth of a new nation this July 9. Some said they traveled for days to make it to the capital in time for the celebrations. “I’m very happy today,” said Alfred Gore Dimitri, who had come with his family to witness the celebration in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. “I’ve been celebrating since yesterday.” Also in attendance at the celebration [...]

Calendar of Church events on South Sudan independence

By |9 July 2011|

A calendar of events for the spiritual preparation celebrating of the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The bishops of Sudan have asked for parishes throughout the world and people of all faiths to join them in praying for peace. Saturday, 28 May Eucharistic procession and launch of the campaign Sunday, 29 May Day of Reconciliation: Preaching on reconciliation at all levels. Mending differences through human dignity with events such as washing of the feet, lighting a candle and prayers of the faithful. Monday, 6 June Schools programme: School children and young people in song, with poems and drawing competitions on the theme of independence, new life, peace and reconciliation. Saturday, 11 June Pentecost Vigil: Adoration gratitude and petition for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sunday, 12 June Pentecost celebrations. A tree is planted in each diocese as a symbol of new birth. From this day onwards till 9 July, families, institutions, schools, parishes are [...]
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    Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

Day of prayer and cleaning as independence awaits South Sudan

By |8 July 2011|

By Sara Fajardo Women bent over handmade brooms sweep the streets of southern Sudan’s capital of Juba free of dust each morning. On the few miles of paved city roads, concrete road dividers are brightened with freshly planted flowers and saplings. The entry gates of buildings and homes boast fresh green paint. The rows of robust trees along the road that houses the majority of southern Sudan’s Ministry offices are adorned with bright white banners that read “Happy Independent Day.” Everywhere there are signs of Juba preparing to be ushered in as the world’s newest nation. Even the electoral countdown clock that once ticked away the hours left for southern Sudanese to cast their ballot for self-determination has been reconfigured to flash stats of the Republic of South Sudan’s pending nationhood: “East Africa’s newest nation #6, the United Nation’s Country #193 , Africa’s Youngest Nation.” Recycling bins and newly minted trash cans [...]

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