CAFOD has launched an immediate appeal for funds, after Catholic Bishops from Sudan and South Sudan appealed to all international Catholic agencies to support communities affected by recent violence “through all possible means.”
Since the ceasefire brokered on 23 January between the South Sudanese government and rival political factions, the capital Juba has been relatively calm, but several towns and regions in the country are still in desperate need of humanitarian relief, as thousands of people remain displaced from their homes due to fear of renewed fighting.
CAFOD is particularly concerned about the town of Malakal and surrounding diocese, where the security situation remains tense, with many hundreds of people seeking shelter in church and hospital compounds, and humanitarian access to the town very limited.
Sister Agnes Nyalik of the Sacred Heart Sisters congregation told CAFOD that there is a real fear of disease spreading unless urgent action is taken: “Dogs and chickens are feeding on the rotting bodies of dead soldiers and civilians who were killed in the fierce fighting for control of the town. Floating bodies can be seen in the River Nile, which is the source of water for those that are now homeless and living in the church and hospital compounds”.
Doctors in Malakal hospital have been overwhelmed by large numbers of people who have sought refuge inside the building, leading to severe shortages of medical supplies.
Jane Andanje, CAFOD’s Country Representative for South Sudan said: “CAFOD partners need to provide assistance to all those who urgently need it. Speed is vital because within a few months the rainy season will make it difficult to transport supplies and will leave some areas cut-off. For that reason, it is also paramount that aid agencies are allowed to move freely and do their job in safety, and that all parties to the conflict allow unimpeded humanitarian access to some of the worst affected areas.”
At the end of their conference in Juba, the Catholic Bishops from Sudan and South Sudan also expressed their concern about the situation in Malakal, and called for urgent international help:
“The Diocese of Malakal will receive our particular attention as we seek local personnel, missionaries and other resources to ensure the immediate and long-term needs of the Diocese are supported. The humanitarian crisis in Malakal is particularly acute and we appeal to all agencies, especially our own Caritas Internationalist family to support the vulnerable communities through all possible means.”
Find out how you can support CAFOD’s appeal to help vulnerable communities in South Sudan.