As the humanitarian crisis worsens in South Sudan, Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe, President of Caritas South Sudan and Bishop of Yei, has warned the country is in a state of collapse with millions of people facing mass starvation.
Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe, President of Caritas South Sudan and Bishop of Yei, will be in Rome from 21 March for a meeting of South Sudan experts to discuss the worsening crisis in his country where famine has been declared in the midst of civil war.
Parts of South Sudan face famine due to an ongoing civil war, collapse of law and order and drought. William Okot de Toby is the managing director of a diocesan Caritas, Caritas Torit, in the south-eastern part of the country. He answered our questions.
Following the declaration of famine in Unity State, South Sudan this week, the country’s Catholic bishops have issued a powerful pastoral letter condemning the country’s civil war and labelling the famine as “man-made”.
When the guns started firing again in Juba on the 7th July it brought to an end the fragile ceasefire and forced the displacement of 34,000 people from around Juba. Many sought refuge in established UN camps or church compounds.
By September 2015, 7.5 million people – nearly two in every three people in South Sudan were going hungry. Half of those people were suffering from severe hunger. Caritas is launching a €2.1 million euro emergency appeal for funds that will help alleviate hunger for the entirety of 2016.
Unlike many other conflict zones around the world, Abyei is not filled with non-governmental organizations providing assistance to the population. Many NGOs are afraid that working in Abyei will anger government officials in Khartoum, who could then deny them access to Darfur and other troubled areas.
In 2015, Caritas welcomes South Sudan as its newest member. The small African country gained independence in 2011, and its people are experiencing the joys and struggles that come with creating a nation.
For the last ten years Caritas's partner Norwegian Church Aid(NCA) have been at the forefront of running life-line services for camp residents. Babiker, an NCA aid worker, who comes from the area, takes us through a typical day's work.