South Sudan: CRS Scales Up Response

Abraham Jok, left, and Machuei Awet, stack up hygiene kits for distribution to displaced people along the Nile River, in Yolakot, South Sudan in Lake State. An estimated 716,100 have been displaced in South Sudan with an additional 166,900 fleeing to neighboring countries as a result of conflict that erupted in mid-December 2013. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

Abraham Jok, left, and Machuei Awet, stack up hygiene kits for distribution to displaced people along the Nile River, in Yolakot, South Sudan in Lake State. An estimated 716,100 have been displaced in South Sudan with an additional 166,900 fleeing to neighboring countries as a result of conflict that erupted in mid-December 2013. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

Catholic Relief Services is scaling up its emergency response in South Sudan as continuing conflict and mass displacement threaten the lives of millions of people.

Violence that started in December 2013 has so far killed thousands. More than one million people have been displaced from their homes, tens of thousands of whom have flooded into neighboring countries. Many of those who remain in South Sudan have not been able to plant crops because of insecurity and uncertainty or because they don’t have the seeds and tools they need to do so. Coupled with heavy rains that have washed out roads and made large areas inaccessible, this has put many at risk of starvation. Reports indicate worsening rates of malnutrition among children and the UN has warned of potential famine as early as August.

donate-nowCRS has carried out an emergency response in several of the country’s states, and plans to expand its assistance in the coming weeks.

In the midst of this turmoil, many South Sudanese families are nevertheless working together with CRS in hope and solidarity. CRS is responding to the emergency across three states, and continues to expand its assistance wherever possible.

  • In several counties of Jonglei state, which was particularly hit hard by the violence in December, CRS has distributed life-saving food and supplies as well as seeds and tools so that people who can take advantage of the planting season in order to have food later this year. Many thousands of people lost their homes and belongings during attacks; but through their own perseverance and with CRS’ support, they are restarting their lives.
  • In Awerial county of Lakes State, CRS has distributed essential supplies to thousands of people who were forced from their homes and now live in makeshift camps along the Nile river. These emergency items include temporary shelter materials, cooking sets and water collection supplies as well as seeds and tools. CRS is also training people on hygiene and sanitation to prevent the outbreak of disease, especially important given the cholera endemic that has shaken many parts of the country.
  • In Juba, the capital, a chronic lack of sanitation and clean water triggered a cholera outbreak which has so far claimed more than 60 lives. CRS is working with community volunteers, training them on good hygiene, sanitation and disease prevention so they can take those messages to their communities. It is vital to continue these efforts, especially throughout the rainy season, in order to limit the number of new cases and to encourage people to seek medical attention if they manifest symptoms. 

“We are focusing on saving lives right now, but we also continue to help communities and families to build their resilience. We must continue important long-term development in South Sudan so that people can make a better life for themselves and their children, which is really all anybody wants,” Lorraine Bramwell, Country Representative said. “But the most important thing now is to end the fighting – only that will allow markets to rebound and people to get back to their lives”

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, after decades of civil war with its northern neighbor. Throughout that time, the Catholic Church was one of the few institutions to consistently provide social services in the region, keeping schools open, tending to the sick and bringing communities together to resolve conflict. Now more than ever, CRS, along with the Catholic Church, is committed to continue its work on development, peacebuilding and emergency response, and to staying the course for the South Sudanese people.

South Sudan: Pushing to Reach People in Need

Abraham Jok, left, and Machuei Awet, stack up hygiene kits for distribution to displaced people along the Nile River, in Yolakot, South Sudan in Lake State. An estimated 716,100 have been displaced in South Sudan with an additional 166,900 fleeing to neighboring countries as a result of conflict that erupted in mid-December 2013.   Photo by Sara Fajardo for CRS

Abraham Jok, left, and Machuei Awet, stack up hygiene kits for distribution to displaced people along the Nile River, in Yolakot, South Sudan in Lake State. An estimated 716,100 have been displaced in South Sudan with an additional 166,900 fleeing to neighboring countries as a result of conflict that erupted in mid-December 2013. Photo by Sara Fajardo for CRS

In South Sudan, the world’s youngest country is unravelling after a wave of politically motivated violence swept across Juba in December 2013. Fighting has taken on ethnic dimensions, forcing civilians to flee. At least 1 million people have been displaced, and towns are in ruins.

Context
Tensions within the South Sudanese government escalated in July 2013 after President Salva Kiir reshuffled the cabinet. In December 2013, political fighting among different elements of the national army in Juba spread into several other states. To date, 1 million people have been displaced (including 254,600 who have fled into neighboring countries) and thousands are reported dead.

donate-nowThe most affected areas are Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, Lakes, Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria State. The state capitals Bor and Bentiu were recaptured in January and remain under government control. Opposition forces are in control of Malakal, including its airport. The humanitarian situation is especially grave. The conflict has limited access to the most affected areas due to insecurity in the towns and on the roads. CRS and peer agencies are pushing for the establishment of a coordinated, reliable mechanism for reaching people in need in both government- and opposition-held areas. Serious concerns remain about food security through 2015 if people in the conflict areas are unable to plant crops before the end of April, which is planting season. CRS continues to support the local Church in its efforts to bring an end to the violence.

The Catholic Church in South Sudan
In March 2014, Cardinal Peter Turkson spent 8 days in Juba to support the people and Church in South Sudan. The Cardinal met with CRS and Caritas partners, as well as the president and entire cabinet of South Sudan, to discuss the humanitarian situation. The Catholic Church has long been a negotiator of peace in the region. Throughout the country’s turbulent past, the Church kept schools open, brought people together to resolve conflict and tended the sick. Today, Catholic entities sponsor some of the only networks of social service centers.

CRS Impact to Date
CRS and Caritas have provided:

  • Emergency living supplies to 2,926 households (14,630 people) in Awerial and Twic East County (Jonglei)
  • Hygiene-awareness sessions for 3,036 displaced people, including 389 heads of households
  • Eleven latrine blocks in Ahou that are fully equipped with hand-washing stations

We are ramping up resources for thousands more families in the most-affected areas as security and access allow. View photo slideshow of recent activities at: http://www.crs.org/south-sudan/emergency-response/index.cfm.

Priority Needs
Emergency living and shelter supplies: Essential supplies for daily living, including cooking sets, blankets, utensils, buckets.

Transitional shelter: Provision of shelter kits with key supplies for families to build transitional homes.

Water, hygiene and sanitation: Clean water, hygiene supplies, construction of latrines and other means for sanitation.

Peace and conflict resolution: The bishops of South Sudan are calling for both sides to stop the violence, especially against civilians. CRS is supporting the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, spearheaded by Archbishop Daniel Deng from the Episcopal Church of Sudan and Catholic Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban. CRS also plans to support the Catholic Secretariat in higher-level advocacy and dissemination of critical messages to help restore relationships.

South Sudan: CRS Responding as 1 Million Are Displaced by Fighting

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In South Sudan, the world’s youngest country is unraveling after a wave of politically motivated violence swept across Juba in December 2013. Fighting has taken on ethnic dimensions, forcing civilians to flee. At least 1 million people have been displaced, and towns are in ruins.

Context
donate-nowWhat started as political differences has taken on ominous ethnic fighting in South Sudan. Tensions within the South Sudanese government escalated in July of last year after President Salva Kiir reshuffled the cabinet, which included the dismissal of Vice President Riek Machar. In December, political fighting among different elements of the national army (SPLA) in Juba spread into several other states.

An estimated 1 million people have been uprooted from their homes and thousands are reported dead. The most affected areas are Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, Lakes, Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria State. The city of Malakal (capital of Upper Nile State) experienced heavy fighting in February and opposition forces have claimed control of most of the town.

The humanitarian situation is especially grave. The ongoing conflict has limited our ability to access the most affected areas. In late December 2013, all CRS international staff was evacuated for security reasons. Most have returned, but supplies and food are limited. Neighboring countries such as Kenya and Uganda will be major routes for humanitarian supplies. CRS is currently evaluating the greatest needs for communities in Juba and elsewhere as security allows. We are concerned that people won’t be able to return home in time for planting season in April. If crops are not planted, the food supply for an estimated 3 million people could be severely affected in the months ahead.

The Catholic Church in South Sudan
The Catholic Church has long been a negotiator of peace in southern Sudan. Throughout the country’s turbulent past, the Church kept schools open, brought people together to resolve conflict and tended the sick. Today, Catholic entities sponsor some of the only networks of social service centers.

CRS Impact to Date
CRS has distributed emergency living supplies to 7,300 families and provided hygiene assistance to 3,933 families. We are ramping up resources for thousands more families in the most affected areas as security and access allow.

Priority Needs
Emergency living and shelter supplies: CRS and our local partners are providing essential supplies for daily living, including cooking sets, blankets, utensils, buckets and similar items.

Water, hygiene and sanitation: Hygiene and sanitation activities help prevent waterborne diseases that often occur in crowded conditions. We will provide clean water, and items such as soap, laundry detergent, diapers and sanitary napkins.

Peace and Conflict Resolution: The bishops of South Sudan are calling for both sides to stop the violence, especially against civilians. CRS is supporting the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation spearheaded by Archbishop Daniel Deng from the Episcopal Church of Sudan and Catholic Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban. CRS also plans to support the Catholic Secretariat in higher-level advocacy and dissemination of critical messages to help restore relationships.

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Food Security for Millions

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Residents of Bor County receive sorghum, oil, and lentils in exchange for road construction work they completed as part of the Catholic Relief Services led Jonglei Food Security Program, JFSP, in Jonglei, South Sudan. The JFSP aims to address the root causes of hunger in Jonglei State while teaching people new skills that will help them fight hunger and provide for themselves. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

The fighting in South Sudan has displaced 716,100 people – and with a fragile peace agreement in place – there are serious concerns that people will not be able to return to their home to plant before the rainy season in April.
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Without plants, there will be less food. This will jeopardize food security for over 3 million people.

Reconciliation
Reconciliation must be a priority for the government, the Church and humanitarian organizations if the country is to have any chance of a stable peace settlement.

CRS is significantly supporting the Church-led Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation spearheaded by Archbishop Daniel Deng from the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and Catholic Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban.

CRS also plans to support the Catholic Secretariat in higher-level advocacy and dissemination of critical messages to help restore relationships.

What Your Dollar is Doing to Help
Along with reconciliation efforts, Catholic Relief Services continues to provide needs to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.

  • To date, CRS and Caritas Partners have provided assistance to approximately 7,300 displaced families.
  • Non-food items for 4,000 displaced families will arrive in Awerial with distribution beginning on Feb 25.
  • CRS is supporting the construction of 21 latrines and hygiene promotion activities. Achievements to date include 1 completed 5-stance latrine and 5 under progress.
  • 2,443 persons reached with hand washing messaging, 3,933 households reached with soap distribution, 332 persons reached with safe water messaging, 378 households reached with PUR distribution.
  • And much more.

Needs
Jonglei State
Jonglei was one of the states most affected by the conflict. CRS participated in a one-day rapid assessment, confirming the need for food, non-food items, health care, and repair of water facilities.

Awerial, Lakes State
In Awerial, CRS has a team on the ground to support water, sanitation and hygiene activities. Approximately 74,000 displaced persons from Jonglei State remain displaced in Awerial – many without access to adequate shelter, non-food items and adequate water and sanitation. Displaced persons are requesting seeds and tools and fishing equipment to support some level of livelihood activity.

Upper Nile State
Malakal Town was among the areas most severely affected with homes and market places sustaining heavy damage and looting. The priority needs for displaced persons in Malakal were identified as food, shelter, water and sanitation, and medicine/health.

What You Can Do
Pray for those displaced by this fighting, that they can return home before the rainy season to plant. To get critical supplies to displaced persons, you can make a financial contribution.

South Sudan: CRS Responds to Massive Displacement

SouthSudan donate-nowThe latest from CRS’ emergency response team in South Sudan:

HIGHLIGHTS

  • About 494,000 people are reported to have been displaced by the
    At CRS Newswire:Seasoned South Sudan Staffer Reflects on Recent Violence.” Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staffer Tom Purekal, who is based in Juba, reflects on the recent violence in South Sudan. This piece was written just before a ceasefire was signed.

    crisis, including 401,200 internally displaced people and close to 86,100 refugees in neighboring countries.

  • Food, non-food items, water and sanitation, and health are major needs and there is a concern that the food security situation will only worsen and continue into 2015 if fields cannot be planted before the end of the current season.
  • Relief items have been sent to Awerial and CRS is in the process of procuring relief supplies for an initial 12,000 households.
This CRS fruit tree program represents the broad progress occurring in South Sudan, a progress deeply threatened by the current period of instability and dislocation. (This photo and featured photo by Sara Fajardo/CRS)

This CRS fruit tree program represents the broad progress occurring in South Sudan, a progress deeply threatened by the current period of instability and dislocation. (This photo and featured photo by Sara Fajardo/CRS)

Government officials are returning to Bor this week and have asked CRS to visit and conduct an assessment of the situation there as a prelude to providing humanitarian assistance to the people they expect will return shortly. CRS hopes to support the people of Jonglei. Reconciliation must be a priority for the government, the Church and humanitarian organizations if the country is to have any chance of a stable peace settlement. The major newly reported concentrations of displaced people are in Central and Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, and Unity states. On January 13 and 18, CRS moved an emergency response team to Awerial County to assess and respond to water, sanitation, and non-food item needs in the area. The following items were also sent by road for distribution:

1) Mosquito Nets 500 Pcs
2) Buckets 300 Pcs
3) Latrine Slabs 600 Pcs
4) Water bladders 2 Pcs each for 5,000 liters
5) Pick axes with handles 100 Pcs
6) Spades with handles 255 Pcs
7) Machetes 70 Pcs
8) Wheel barrows 23 Pcs
9) Bamboo 1,600 bundles
10) Soap 80 boxes
11) Pure water sachets 2,000 sachets

On January 21, CRS sent a second team to Awerial to support preparations for distributions of shelter kits, hygiene kits and kitchen sets, as well as mosquito nets, bed sheets and other items. CRS is procuring items for 12,000 households and will add to that as the situation demands. Plans are also in place to drill new wells to accompany soap distributions for 3,400 households to complement work done by Oxfam. Stocks of sorghum, lentils and oil from the should be moved up to support emergent food needs in Jonglei or for people displaced from Jonglei.

South Sudan: CRS Meets Dire Needs of Displaced People

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The latest from CRS’ emergency response team in South Sudan:

  • An estimated 395,000 people are reported to have been displaced by the crisis, including 352,000 internally displaced people and close to 43,000 refugees in neighboring countries.
  • Around 175,000 people have been reached with some kind of assistance to date, inside and outside UN bases, including food, healthcare, vaccinations, clean water and sanitation and protection services.
  • Over 84,000 people have been displaced to Mingkaman and surrounding areas in Awerial County, Lakes State.
  • The major newly reported concentrations of displaced people are in Central and Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Unity states.
  • Some 3,000 to 4,000 people arrive daily in Uganda.

donate-nowIn the first couple of days of conflict in Juba CRS organized water distributions for 2,000 displaced Sudanese at the Cathedral.

The bishops of South Sudan have put out a number of messages and are conducting high-level advocacy calling for both sides to stop the violence, and in particular to stop the violence against civilians.

On January 13, CRS moved an emergency response team to Awerial County to assess and respond to water and sanitation and non-food needs in the area. A first truck was then sent with the following items for distribution:

1) Mosquito Nets 500 Pcs
2) Buckets 300 Pcs
3) Latrine Slabs 600 Pcs
4) Water bladder 2 Pcs each for 5,000 liters
5) Pick axes with handles 100 Pcs
6) Spades with handles 255 Pcs
7) Grass Slashers / Pangas 70 Pcs
8) Wheelbarrows 23 Pcs

 

Photos by Sara A Fajardo for CRS.

Photos by Sara A Fajardo for CRS.

CRS is planning to drill new wells in Awerial to cater for water needs of the IDPs.

In Awerial, CRS has access to 8 diocesan volunteers to support information dissemination. This will accompany soap distributions for 3,400 households to complement work done by Oxfam.

Stocks of sorghum, lentils and oil from the should be moved up to support emergent food needs. Additional salt and sugar will also likely need to be procured to complement the rations. The food needs could be as high as 15,000 households by the end of January. This could potentially be met by combining the CRS and World Food Programme pipelines, with CRS in charge of the actual distributions.

CRS is procuring kitchen sets, hygiene sets and shelter sets for 12,000 households to meet the assessed needs in Awerial as well as emerging needs there and elsewhere.

Assesments are planned for Juba, Nimule (Eastern Equatoria State), and possibly Renk (Upper Nile State) with the expectation of conducting market-based, or direct support in the areas of shelter, food and non-food items based on the needs and opportunities in those areas.

Partnership and Coordination
CRS South Sudan and local Caritas have a longstanding partnership. CRS plans to jointly work with Caritas South Sudan and other Caritas agencies to respond to this emergency. CRS has been asked to be the point of contact for information coming from displaced populations that have moved to church lands.

On January 9, CRS South Sudan sent an assessment team to Awerial County, Lakes state. The team conducted household surveys and one focus group discussion to identify needs.

Three organizations have launched major responses in Awerial so far — Oxfam, MSF and ICRC. The new arrival of displaced people on daily basis creates additional needs for non-food items, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food. In Awerial we identified an immediate need for support to 3,400 households for the following:

  1. Shelter — Temporary shelter
  2. NFIs — Kitchen and hygiene sets
  3. WASH — Immediate needs are latrines, hygiene messaging, and clean water supply.
  4. Hygiene — Public hygiene promotion is critical, both to reduce the number of cases of open defecation and diseases.
  5. Food — Food does not appear to be the immediate priority at the moment, but it will be within the next two weeks once the current ICRC distribution runs out.

South Sudan: Violence Driving Hundreds of Thousands to Flee

On July 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan celebrated the birth of their new nation. Coming from all over Southern Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people converged on the stadium in Juba, South Sudan's capital, to hear the declaration of Independence. Now two years later, the young country is threatened by conflict. (Kim Pozniak/CRS)

On July 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan celebrated the birth of their new nation. Coming from all over Southern Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people converged on the stadium in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, to hear the declaration of Independence. Now two years later, the young country is threatened by conflict. (Kim Pozniak/CRS)

In South Sudan, tensions within the South Sudanese government escalated after the country’s president reshuffled the cabinet in July, including the dismissal of the vice president. In December, an uprising loyal to the ousted vice president erupted in heavy fighting between the national army and anti-government forces, displacing 180,000 people. Efforts to bring both sides together to negotiate continue to be postponed, and humanitarian pursuits have been challenged by the ongoing fighting.
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Context
South Sudan erupted in violence on December 15, 2013 when rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Since then, militia members loyal to the ousted leader have battled government forces. Violence quickly spread, with reports of 1,000 people dead.

An estimated 180,000 people have been uprooted from their homes and are seeking safety primarily at United Nations peacekeeping bases and camps in Juba and Malakal. Peace talks continue to be delayed. Many are concerned that the violence could spark tribal conflict if the two warring parties fail to reach a peace agreement soon.

The humanitarian situation is grave. Insecurity limits aid agencies’ ability to access the most dangerous areas. In late December 2013, all CRS international staff was evacuated for security reasons. Our staff has started to return, but supplies and food are limited. Neighboring countries such as Kenya and Uganda will be major routes for humanitarian supplies. CRS is currently evaluating the greatest needs for communities in Juba and elsewhere as security allows.

Impact to Date
To date, Catholic Relief Services has distributed emergency supplies and organized water distributions for up to 5,000 people who are living on the grounds of a cathedral in Juba. The bishops of South Sudan have put out a number of messages calling for both sides to stop the violence, especially against civilians. Catholic Relief Services and our long-standing partner, Caritas South Sudan.

Priorities Moving Forward
It is early in this crisis, so Catholic Relief Services is still evaluating the most pressing needs. Conditions on the ground will inform next steps, but early evaluations of the crisis indicate that families in Juba, Yei, Awerial and areas in Unity State need:

Emergency living and shelter supplies: Since refugees had to flee at a moment’s notice, Catholic Relief Services and our partners will provide essential supplies for daily living, including cooking sets, blankets, utensils, buckets and similar items.

Water, hygiene and sanitation: Hygiene and sanitation activities help prevent waterborne diseases that often occur in crowded conditions. We will provide clean water, soap, laundry detergent, diapers, sanitary napkins and other supplies.

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates from South Sudan, or subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about Catholic Relief Services’ work around the world.

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Years of Hard-Won Gains

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A woman works loading food in a warehouse in Jonglei, South Sudan, as part of the Jonglei Food Security Program, JFSP, which aims to address the root causes of hunger in Jonglei State with cross-cutting programming that incorporates disaster risk reduction into the agriculture, livelihoods and income generation interventions. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

With the stability of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, endangered, Catholic Relief Services’ Brigid O’Connor reports on her experiences in one of the most troubled areas, Bor in Jonglei State.
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The recent conflict in Jonglei State, South Sudan, has repercussions far beyond who takes power. It creates a crisis of confidence that shakes the very foundation of how people go about their lives. While the media might focus on ethnic tensions, the truth of the matter is that every South Sudanese, regardless of tribe, wants the same thing, the prospect of a normal life.

Predictability is not a luxury that anyone in Jonglei has right now. People want to be able to go to work and rely on a salary this month and next. They want to be able to send their children to school and know that there is a school to send them to. All of this is gone. If anyone in Jonglei right now can plan more than 12 hours ahead they are doing well. Most are planning in one or two hour increments. They’re asking themselves, will I be able to get water? Food? Will I be able to find a place to sleep? Will I get out of where I am safely? Farmers have lost their tools and homes. Shopkeepers have lost their stock. People are now living what all South Sudanese dread, having to pick up and run without knowing where they are headed.

We’re currently in the dry season. For those who have never been to Jonglei, they are not familiar with our cotton soil that turns the land into a muddy impassable mess once the rains begin. The dry season is an important time to focus on development, to undertake projects such as constructing roads, building dikes, digging water ponds for livestock, and starting fisheries. It is also a time to build connections between isolated communities. Isolation is a problem in South Sudan and when you’re permanently cut off from your neighbors that are a mere 30 miles away it can be very hard to see them as anything other than strangers, or even enemies. The roads that Catholic Relief Services helped build over the past two years, through the Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP), have transformed strangers into neighbors. Roads are routes to commerce, dialogue and understanding. Dikes and fisheries give people stability and a way to be self-sufficient and provide for their families.

While we may have missed the window to continue developing infrastructure this year, the rains and cultivation in Jonglei will begin in April. If this crisis continues and people aren’t able to plant, then all of Jonglei State and South Sudan in general will face a prolonged hunger crisis. We could lose an entire year’s harvests. Everyone will be affected.

The situation in Jonglei needs to normalize quickly. People need to feel safe enough to return home and go back to their villages. In order to be a farmer you need stability. There is no point in farming if you might have to abandon your crops in two weeks time. Whatever pressure the international community can apply to the key parties to stop this conflict is essential. The Church has long been a neutral and trusted party. The Church has the ability to skillfully mediate a truce if allowed to do so.

There must be a secure settlement between the warring parties. People need to have confidence in whatever agreement is reached. Three generations of South Sudanese have seen peace agreements fall apart. It is going to take a lot to persuade the nation that whatever piece of paper is signed will hold and that there is a mechanism in place, such as the UN, to make sure it’s honored. If that doesn’t happen, everyone will lose. The loss of achievements that have been built so painstakingly over the past few years by the South Sudanese is a price too high to pay.

I’ve worked in Sudan and South Sudan for over 30 years. I’ve sadly seen this trend of conflict and displacement before. But while others may see this as a hopeless situation, I don’t. It has been my great privilege to work with the South Sudanese. The environment they’ve grown up in is incredibly inhospitable: disease, displacement, hunger and conflict. The fact that they’ve survived into adulthood and begun to build better lives for themselves and their children makes them remarkable. The South Sudanese are a resilient and resourceful people.

These past few years in Jonglei the JFSP has employed and invested in more than 300 local staff. Most of them had little to no education or work experience when they were hired and yet over time they were able to oversee projects that motivated more than 100,000 people in remote, rural communities to believe in themselves and their ability to forge a better future while they developed infrastructure and learned once again to live off the land. The raw human potential in Jonglei State is palpable. While we may have lost infrastructure and commodities during this conflict, if we can reassemble our staff we can rebuild. In order to rebuild we need the conflict to stop. Our South Sudanese staff needs to feel relatively safe to come back and work. They need to know that they can function and do their work without getting shot.

Brigid O’Connor is chief of party for the Jonglei Food Security Program a USAID funded project run by CRS. She has been based in Bor, South Sudan, for the past three years.

Prayer for peace in South Sudan

CRS statement on the crisis in South Sudan

Crisis in South Sudan

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Friends and neighbors of CRS partner Solidarity with Southern Sudan gathered at their residence in 2011, on the eve of Republic of South Sudan’s official declaration of Independence. The event including children singing the new national anthem, and “”Happy Birthday,”" to their new nation. Photo by Sara Fajardo/CRS

Just about this time three years ago the world was preparing for the referendum vote that would ultimately create the newest country on the planet, South Sudan.  We asked Catholics and others of goodwill across the US to mobilize for 101 days of prayer and advocacy for what then seemed like a remote hope that the vote for independence from Sudan would remain peaceful.  To the enormous relief of the entire world, South Sudan was born in 2011 with relative calm and minimal conflict.
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If you have been reading the headlines in the last few days, you know that the fragile peace within South Sudan is at risk of falling apart.  Once again we ask for your prayers and your voice for people in South Sudan.

Here is our official statement about the current situation in Sudan:

Catholic Relief Services continues to stand with the people of South Sudan in the aftermath of an outbreak of violent conflict that has taken an estimated 500 lives and displaced up to 34,000. We call on the international community to bring together the key parties to dialogue in order to help avert a civil war.

The ecumenical Church has long been a trusted and independent voice for peace. We support their mediation efforts and will work with them to help foster reconciliation and national unity in the months ahead.

CRS has a long history of working with and for the people of South Sudan. We remain committed to developing much needed infrastructure, humanitarian assistance, and peacebuilding in the years to come.  Our prayers for peace are with the people of South Sudan.

Please pray with the people of South Sudan.

Prayer for Peace in South Sudan

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Adol Deng, 60, in Jonglei State. Photo by Sara Fajardo

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” St. Francis prayed, and so do we.

God of peace and justice, make us instruments of your peace. Allow instruments of peace to rise up in South Sudan and flourish all over your world, instruments of peace that offer stability, safety, justice,
that bring joy and hope, and
that foster hearts of reconciliation, mercy, and love.

God of peace, God of justice,
Creator God who has made all of humanity as one family, brothers and sisters,
made in your image, your likeness, and
rooted in one common origin and one common destiny,
In South Sudan and other corners of the world ravaged by the chaos of war,
Remind us that we belong to one another, and
That we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Amen.

Prayers of the Faithful

For communities around the world living in fear of war and violence, especially those in South Sudan, that the God of peace and justice will comfort and protect them in these dark hours, we pray to the Lord.

For peacemakers, those who work to build the Kingdom of God, especially those men and women in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, for their continued perseverance and protection, we pray to the Lord.

CRS statement on the crisis in South Sudan.

CRS Stands with South Sudan, Urges Dialogue to Bring Peace