Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. The situation here in Agok is still very fluid. It’s been a few weeks since their displacement from Abyei, and you still see people coming and going. Some are leaving to go further south while others are arriving because they’ve heard from the government that it is safe to return. This is the planting season, so people are trying to make decisions about what they’re going to do over the next few months for food. It is important to them to be able to get seeds into the ground to harvest crops in the coming months. Their very livelihoods are in jeopardy. Markets here continue to be bare. [...]
Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. One thing that has become apparent to me while working to meet the needs of those displaced from Abyei is that the Church’s presence really is a symbol of hope. A few Sundays ago during Mass, local parish priest, Fr. Biong gave a speech about helping people to rebuild their lives and the need for continued support during this difficult time. This is such an important message for everyone to hear: the displaced, host communities, and those working to help meet their needs. Priests like Fr. Biong help people to feel that they have not been abandoned. He continues to be with his people seeking refuge in Agok, [...]
Caritas Internationalis says independence for South Sudan marks a moment of hope after decades of war and the loss of millions of lives. The Republic of South Sudan becomes independent from the rest of Sudan on 9 July 2011 under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005). Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy will be in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, for independence day celebrations. He said, “Independence marks the end of a long walk to freedom for the people of South Sudan. Millions of lives have been sacrificed on that journey and millions more have been forced from their homes. “Caritas and our Catholic Church partners have walked with them, trying to bring divided communities together, providing humanitarian relief and supporting development programmes and urging governments to ensure international support for the peace process. “Few believed we would see this day, and it is a testament to the faith-filled lives of those [...]
Novena for South Sudan South Sudan emerges as a new nation on 9 July 2011. The Catholic Church in Sudan is inviting all people of goodwill to take part in nine days of prayer for the future of the new state. This novena begins on June 29, 2011 and ends on July 7, 2011. Day One: Dignity of the Human Person Day Two: Common Good Day Three: Rights and Responsibilities Day Four: Preferential Option for the Poor Day Five: Solidarity Day Six: Integrity of Creation Day Seven: Reconciliation Day Eight: Subsidiarity or Participatory Government Day Nine: Peace Prayer for Republic of South Sudan God of Mercies, We thank you for your great love for us. We ask you to guide all our leaders in the process of nation building. Grant them your wisdom, compassion and fortitude. Loving God, give us courage to reject ethnic resentment as well as ethnic conflicts. Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, help us to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts so that we become [...]
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 [...]
Caritas members in South Sudan aim to provide 100,000 people with water, food, shelter, health and education. South Sudan becomes an independent state 9 July 2011 after decades of conflict, poor governance and natural disasters. People in the emerging nation face an acute shortage of basic needs as the country lacks infrastructure and faces high levels of poverty and underdevelopment. Currently, a third of children are underweight, over a third fail to live to their fifth birthday, half the population live in extreme poverty and literacy rates are as low as 36 percent. A young girl in South Sudan has more chance of dying in childbirth than finishing her primary education. Caritas members will work together in partnership with the local Catholic Church under a joint programme of $7.6 million (€5.7 million) running up till July 2012. The work will focus on repair and rehabilitation of water, sanitation, health and education facilities [...]
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 [...]
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 […]
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 […]
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.