February 21, 2013

Ten years on, Darfuris still arriving at camps

By |21 February 2013|

Eight months pregnant and carrying a child on her back, Miriam Ibrahim urged her other two children on: ‘“Walk quickly.” For three days, the family had no food as they trekked across the hot, sandy dirt of western Sudan, encountering snakes and wild animals. They slept under trees. The ground burned and there were thorns; Miriam had no shoes. And she didn’t know exactly where to go: “There was no road.” Some passing nomads saw the bedraggled family and gave them a small plastic container for water. The family also found food over the next week. But it took ten days of walking before they reached a camp for other people who fled shooting and violence. There they found relatives, one of whom offered Miriam flip-flops . One of the first things Miriam did after arriving was slather her raw feet with mud. Ten years after violence broke out in Darfur, there’s [...]

A Decade in Darfur: Mothers and Children at Risk

By |21 February 2013|

With thousands of others, Nawal escaped to one of Sudan’s camps for displaced people. They were safer there, but could no longer earn a living by farming. Some camp residents do tasks like brickmaking, making enough money to buy the day’s kilo or two of grain.

A Decade in Darfur: Healing Relationships

By |21 February 2013|

“When I entered my farm, it was so pretty that I was singing.” Abubakar, a 37-year-old father of ten, was happy with the rainy season in Darfur in mid-2012. “I saw I’d have a good harvest.” Abubakar had put a lot of work into his crops of groundnuts, millet, maize and okra. “At the beginning of the season, I peeled the groundnuts to plant. It’s hard to shell so many. My fingers hurt and were swollen,” he remembers. “I worked on the farm for hours each day. I sweat so much my clothes were soaked.” Not far away, thousands of livestock herders in Sudan were also working hard to keep their animals healthy and find food for them. “During the rainy season, nomads move from south to north,” says Mohammed Abdelkarem, a programme officer with Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), an implementing partner of Caritas. “On the journey, they pass through farming [...]

A decade in Darfur: Call me Actcaritas

By |6 February 2013|

Seldom has a joint programme between aid agencies made such a personal impression on an employee, but the partnership of ACT Alliance and Caritas—Protestants and Catholics helping Darfur--struck a cord with an aid worker in the region. Here, he describes why he likes his nickname. My real first name is Abakar. But everyone calls me “Actcaritas.” I like it. When I go to the camps for displaced people, they all call me “Actcaritas.” My real name is lost. I am logistics fleet assistant. I buy diesel in the market and take it to the camps. We use it to run the water systems, so the people have water. We used to need 30 drums of fuel for all the camps. Now that the programme has built solar-powered water stations, we use less fuel. ACT/Caritas has supported NCA [Norwegian Church Aid] for a long time in Darfur. There were always very strong here. [...]

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 4, 2012

Prayer for South Sudan’s one year anniversary

By |4 July 2012|

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    South Sudan marks 1st anniversary in its long journey to development

South Sudan marks 1st anniversary in its long journey to development

By |3 July 2012|

On the road in South Sudan, landmine warnings flash by and demining groups work on unexploded bombs left over from war. But in a vehicle full of Caritas workers, the passengers are more worried about the insects flying around. Are they mosquitoes? Tsetse flies? The vehicle splashes through puddles where snails and worms live that can make you very ill. Almost every bad tropical disease you've heard of is found in this corner of East Africa. And nearly every problem a country can face is here: violence from within and without; almost no water systems, paved roads, electricity, schools or clinics; war orphans and war widows; half a million returnees with no homes; thousands of guns in the hands of armed groups. South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has it all. It has it all in a better sense, too: rich fields, plenty of natural resources, the blessing (or curse) of [...]

South Sudan’s lost generation comes home

By |3 July 2012|

“There was bombing and shelling, soldiers. My children kept saying, ‘What’s happening?’” Nyanareng, a 28-year-old mother of four, didn’t have time for long explanations when violence struck Abyei, a disputed border town between Sudan and South Sudan. She just told her children to run. “We walked five days on foot. We’d dig in the ground for water,” she said. It was May 2011, and hot in the bush. Her children survived. But her mother died of exhaustion. “We weren’t allowed to bury my mother in Touralei, so we came here, to Agok.” South Sudanese have often been the people nobody wants. Sometimes they’re shuffled from refugee camps to way-stations to transit areas. Or they’re targets, running from bombs and bullets, trying not to get separated from their children or wives or husbands. After a decades-long civil war, South Sudan is now its own country, a nation getting its people back. A huge fraction [...]

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 [...]

A dream of peace justce and freedom for South Sudan

By |14 May 2012|

MEETING OF THE EPISCOPAL AND CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOUTH SUDAN “WE HAVE A DREAM OF PEACE, JUSTICE AND FREEDOM” Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be recognised as children of God (Matthew 5:9) [YEI, SOUTH SUDAN, 11th MAY 2012]: Fourteen bishops representing the Catholic and Episcopal Churches of South Sudan, led by Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro and Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, met in Yei, South Sudan, from 9th – 11th May 2012, to pray and reflect together on the relationship between the two Churches, their wider ecumenical responsibilities, and the role they can play in bringing peace and understanding between Sudan and South Sudan. Their brother bishops from the Republic of Sudan were unable to attend the meeting due to the current political situation. The bishops received with gratitude a message of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Most Reverend John Sentamu, Anglican Archbishop of York, and facilitators from […]

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 [...]

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 […]

February 20, 2012

Churches fear rising ethnic violence in South Sudan

By |20 February 2012|

The Sudan Council of Churches (the SCC) is warning of a new cycle of revenge and retaliation in South Sudan’s Jonglei State. Over 120,000 people have been affected by a conflict that flared over Christmas between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities in Jonglei. A Caritas team is carrying out an evaluation of the humanitarian needs. The SCC represents six Christian churches including the Roman Catholic Church. The SCC is calling on all sides to step back from ethnic hatred. In a 18 January statement on Jonglei, it said: “Brutal actions were carried out against non-combatants. Ethnic hatred was expressed verbally, in graffiti left by the attackers and on the internet, and this could be the precursor to larger-scale atrocities.” The SCC blames the conflict on inter-ethnic raiding against a backdrop of insufficient security provided by the Government and a UN peacekeeping force (UNMISS), a failure of political and religious leadership to influence [...]

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 [...]

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