June 11, 2011
Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, is in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 90,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. CRS is a Caritas member. He shares with us his impressions from the field. Whenever a person responds to an emergency situation you have to face the grief and loss of those affected. There is so much work to be done and so many people who need assistance. It is also in these moments that you see the real face of humanity and the deep compassion people can show to their fellow man. I’ve seen two such examples since arriving to the Agok area of Sudan. Agok is a town that used to number about ten thousand but has recently swelled to the tens of thousands since conflict broke out in the neighboring town of Abyei. The [...]
Andy Schaefer, CRS (Catholic Relied Services is a Caritas member) technical adviser for emergency coordination, is in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 90,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. After an eleven hour journey by plane and car, the CRS team arrives in Agok. As we drove we passed blossoming trees, cattle, goats, and sometimes people walking along the road and carrying whatever belongings they could salvage. Some carried mattresses while others escaped only with the clothes they had on their backs. The closer we got to Agok, on the second leg of our trip, the more people we saw on the roads. Makeshift camps covered the town. Every available space was filled with people. Storefront verandas teemed with sleeping children and women nursing babies. There was no privacy. Whatever items they owned lay at their feet: a [...]
The first miracle in Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala’s life happened when he was just a few months old. During a military raid on his village in southern Sudan, soldiers entered his family’s house and killed his mother and sister. They left baby Eduardo unharmed and didn’t burn down the house. Now, 47 years later, he is the Bishop of the Diocese of Tombura-Yambi, and he continues to devote his life to bringing peace to Sudan and to South Sudan which becomes an independent nation on 9 July. Caritas member Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will be hosting a live chat with Bishop Kussala Stay with Sudan. Build a future on Wednesday, June 15 at 1 p.m. eastern time in the United States. Bishop Kussala will answer your questions about his life, the current situation in Sudan and his vision for the future of a new nation. Find out how to join in with the [...]
As part of programme of prayer and activities leading upto the independence for South Sudan on 9 July, the Sudanese Catholic Church will be blessing and planting trees of life to mark Pentecost this Sunday 12 June. Each diocese will plant a tree as a symbol of new birth. From Sunday until independence day, families, institutions, schools and parishes are being encouraged to plant trees. The Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference in South Sudan says, "We, as the people of South Sudan symbolically plant trees throughout our new country. Some of these trees will produce medicine, a sign of healing from trauma and war; some of the trees will give fruit, signs of hope and promise. "As we plant these trees, we ask God to bless us and all of creation." Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio has been helping to organise the initiative. He said, "The planting of trees is very meaningful, trees have life [...]
April 7, 2011
Statement from the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference Be calm but vigilant… (1 Peter 5:8) 7th April 2011 We the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, gathered in Extraordinary Plenary assembly in Juba, South Sudan, from 1st – 7th April 2011, have prayed and reflected together on the situation in our beloved Sudan. Mindful of our responsibility as prophets and shepherds at this crucial time, we offer you these words of encouragement and advice during the Season of Lent as we anticipate the Easter Joy of the Resurrection. In a previous statement, we said, Sudan will never be the same again. This has come to pass in the most concrete way, as we await the formal Declaration of Independence of the South and the formation of two new countries on 9th July 2011. However it is also true in a deeper way. The people of the South have had the opportunity to determine […]
March 18, 2011
by Sara Fajardo, CRS communications officer The March 2 and 5 attacks in the contested oil rich region of Abyei, Sudan, have led to estimates of more than 100 dead and 20,000-25,000, nearly half the population, deserting Abyei town. Abyei is proving to be one of the most difficult areas to resolve between northern and southern Sudan: both lay claims to the land. Previous incidences in May, 2008, in which Abyei town was attacked and burned have left people concerned that the violence might escalate. According to our church contacts in the region, people are moving south of Abyei, along the Kiir River. While the city has been almost completely evacuated, the security situation in the areas south of Abyei where people have set up temporary homes remains stable. Initial reports show that the majority of people have fled to the neighboring community of Agok. Many of the people who […]
January 21, 2011
by Renee Lambert, Emergency Coordinator Young Sudanese polling officials sat inside a small two room school, silently unfolding ballots while national and international observers looked on. It was just after 7 pm, the polls had closed 2 hours earlier. Outside the school the sun was setting, so the polling officials were counting by the light of small lanterns. Shadows of the young officials unfolding ballots bounced off the walls of the small room and goose bumps covered my arms as I realized the significance of what I was witnessing. My eyes had already welled with tears more times in the past week than could be counted on both hands, but this did not stop them from tearing up again. And I knew that what I was feeling wasn’t even a fraction of what the Sudanese polling officials and observers must be feeling.
By Sara A. Fajardo Click here to view more pictures. Watching the southern Sudanese line up to cast their ballots has been a lesson in civic-duty. Eric Keri, a tall lanky 50 year-old father of 10, refused to leave Sudan until the last day of the vote. Despite having family in neighbouring Uganda he chose to spend the holiday season alone. He feared some mishap would not get him back to Juba in time to mark with a thumbprint, his choice for Sudan’s future: for either the south to remain united with northern Sudan, or to secede and form the world’s newest nation. It was a resolve shared with members of his entire family– each of them voted, some in such far-flung countries as Australia, the U.S. and Uganda.
By Sara A. Fajardo-Henning At 7 a.m. in the morning the Juba port bristles with early morning rooster calls, women laundering along the banks of the Nile, and young children stirring on bed mats where they nestle like kittens in their temporary open-air bedrooms. They arrived by the hundreds, these Sudanese who meandered down the serpentine turns of Africa’s most famous river for close to 15 days. They brought with them everything the boats could carry: writing desks, stoves, mattresses, and tea kettles – essential in boiling up comforting cups of morning tea while boiling away the diseases pulled up from the Nile’s murky waters.
By Sara Fajardo in Juba for Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a member of Caritas from the USA)
by Karina O’Meara as told to Sara A. Fajardo It was mid-morning when we arrived to the Juba River Port last week and it was jostling with the sounds of people unloading bedding, horses, cars, and cooking supplies, from the four open-air containers that flanked a large passenger boat. An estimated 700 people had made the up to 15-day journey from Khartoum and Kosti to reach southern Sudan’s largest city. Each day thousands of people have been flooding into Juba and other main cities throughout southern Sudan, in the lead up to the referendum vote. People arrive on boats, planes, and buses daily.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa is part of an ecumenical monitoring team in southern Sudan as people cast their ballots to decide on self-determination. He accompanied Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loro of Juba to vote. (Footage by Sara Fajardo/Catholic Relief services).
Dan Griffin, CRS senior adviser for Sudan is in Juba, the capital city of southern Sudan, during the referendum process. Between jet lag and excitement I’m wide awake by 4:00am. The CRS guesthouse is not far from St. Theresa’s Cathedral. I can hear the choir coming to the end of an all night vigil. Even closer is the polling centre for this area, the Kator section of Juba. At 5:00 a.m. I can hear police and soldiers giving instructions to assembled voters. By dawn the line extends for a hundred yards before wrapping around the block. By 8:00 a.m. the polling centres are reporting voluminous crowds. President Salva Kiir cast his ballot on the morning news. In stark contrast to celebrations in Juba, reports are coming in of violence over the weekend in Abyei and Unity state. More than 40 casualties are confirmed. Initial reports speak of contained violence. Voting will [...]
[slideshow]By Sara A. Fajardo, CRS Communications Officer in Juba People began arriving long before dawn. Some were rumored to have spent the night. By the time we arrived several hundred men and women snaked the grounds of St. Kizito parish in Juba, Sudan. The men stood in one line. The women stood in another. Many carried radios and listened for news of the turnout to Sudan’s historic vote in their home counties. Women whispered, radios hummed, and a few tired children whimpered as they nestled into their mother’s welcoming backs. All waited patiently. Their time had come. It was time for them to cast their ballot. This was there once-in-a-lifetime chance to vote to decide whether or not southern Sudan will secede from the north or remain united with northern Sudan. “I thought I’d be the first,” the men chimed happily, “I was here at 5 this [...]
Dan Griffin, CRS senior adviser for Sudan is in Juba, the capital city of southern Sudan, during the referendum process. He filed this report the day before the beginning of the historic vote. I arrived in Juba for the fifth time in a year’s time, Saturday morning at 10:30am. From the very beginning, I knew this trip would be different. I first came to Africa twenty years ago this month. I started working on Sudan issues more than ten years ago, working for the Catholic Diocese of Torit as a Justice and Peace Coordinator for at a time Sudan was famous for having neither. Flying back this time, reading reports of the preparations for the referendum starting the following day, I was struck how my own sense of the geography of Sudan has been shaped by its suffering. I first learned place names from reports on where atrocities occurred. I learned [...]