Juba, South Sudan – In the wake of the recent eruption of violence between the military and paramilitary forces in Sudan, the Church in South Sudan has taken a proactive role in mobilizing support for Sudanese citizens seeking refuge in their neighboring country.
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba has issued a heartfelt appeal to religious communities, urging them to extend a helping hand to those in need.
The clashes between the military and paramilitary forces in Sudan, which began on April 15, have resulted in widespread displacement and an urgent humanitarian crisis. Thousands of Sudanese citizens have been forced to flee their homes, leaving behind their possessions and livelihoods. In this time of great uncertainty and distress, the Church in South Sudan has recognized the need for solidarity and compassion.
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin, a prominent figure within the South Sudanese religious community, has called upon churches, mosques, and other religious institutions to come together and provide support to the Sudanese refugees.
The Government of Juba asserts that it has dispatched twelve trucks to facilitate the transportation of its citizens who were stranded in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. As a result of ongoing conflict, an estimated 50,000 individuals have sought refuge in South Sudan thus far.
Additionally, Egypt and Chad have also witnessed an influx of refugees from this region, with approximately 70,000 and 30,000 people respectively seeking shelter in these countries. Numerous others have found their way to Ethiopia, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that over 700,000 individuals are internally displaced within the affected areas.
In response to the Archbishop’s call, various churches across South Sudan have initiated a range of initiatives to help the Sudanese refugees. These efforts include setting up temporary shelters, providing food and clean water, and offering medical assistance. Volunteers from local religious communities have been working tirelessly to ensure that the basic needs of the refugees are met.
Furthermore, religious leaders have organized counseling sessions and trauma-healing programs to address the emotional and psychological well-being of the refugees. Recognizing the profound impact of displacement and conflict on individuals, these programs aim to provide a safe space for the Sudanese refugees to process their experiences and find comfort in their faith.
The Church’s mobilization has also extended beyond immediate humanitarian aid. Churches have actively engaged with local and international organizations to raise awareness about the plight of the Sudanese refugees and advocate for their rights. By amplifying their voices and sharing their stories, the Church hopes to generate greater support and assistance from the global community.
The ongoing conflict has had a profound impact on the small Christian community within the predominantly Muslim nation. Numerous Catholic establishments and churches, such as the Catholic Cathedral of El-Obeid, have been targeted by bombings, with the most recent incident occurring on April 20 when a rocket struck the cathedral. As a result, countless religious figures and clergy from different congregations have been compelled to seek refuge outside of Sudan’s capital.