Posts Tagged ‘South Sudan’

Good News Amid World Troubles

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Dear Friend,

And so a New Year begins: a time to make resolutions and face the future with a clean slate, ready to write a better narrative. Maybe this is the year you will get that promotion or lose those 10 pounds or spend more time with your children. I encourage you to nurture such hope. From it can spring the flower of positive change.

At the same time, we realize that the New Year begins amid many problems around the world.

You are aware of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and how Catholic Relief Services—with your help—is responding to thousands of people affected by this deadly virus. Children who are now orphans need our support, and the virus has dealt a major blow to economies still recovering from years of war. These effects will be felt for a long time to come.

Beyond West Africa, we can point to crises in other countries, including Syria, Iraq and Central African Republic. Violence rooted in politics has taken on religious dimensions, forcing millions of people from their homes.

Then there’s South Sudan, the world’s newest nation. Fighting there is entering its second year and making it difficult to get support to those who need it the most.

Such tough challenges can make you wonder if New Year’s Day really marks the beginning of something new or just a recurrence of old problems.

But you are making a difference, and progress against malaria is one example of that. The World Malaria Report 2014 shows that the incidence of this disease dropped by 30% from 2000 to 2013. Mortality rates have declined by 47% worldwide and by 54% in Africa. Among children under age 5, the mortality rate declined by 53% worldwide and by 58% in Africa.


God’s Grace Is in Your Gift

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Dear Friend,

Thanksgiving is a time to take stock of our many blessings: our families, friends, health, freedom—and the remarkable bounty that provides for our needs.

Certainly there are needs, wants and injustices in this country that prompt our concern and action, but consider that at the very least our well-developed food supply chain ensures that there will be plenty to eat.

Even if there is a drought that disrupts the harvest we celebrate every autumn, we won’t go hungry. Millions of small-scale farmers and poor urban dwellers wish that they could enjoy that kind of resilience. Catholic Relief Services works alongside them every day to make their resilience a reality.

But as we contemplate a table groaning under the weight of the food we will soon put on it—and the friends and family we will share it with—I want to draw your attention to an even more fundamental gift from our generous God.


Disasters Threaten South Sudan, Central African Republic

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Dear Friend,
Responding to emergencies is one of the most important jobs we have at Catholic Relief Services. Many are high-profile events covered extensively in the media, like the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the earthquake in Haiti or Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. But many are events you’ve likely never heard of—local flooding or storms or violence just as devastating as the ones that draw widespread attention.

Working with our local partners around the world—often Caritas and other Church organizations—CRS spreads the bounty of your generosity to those forced from their homes or in need of food, water and other necessities through no fault of their own.

The spotlight usually falls on disasters that happen suddenly—like an earthquake or a typhoon. The suddenness is part of the story, part of the drama, part of what makes it so compelling to news organizations and to viewers and readers.

What often receives far less attention, though, are what we call slow-onset emergencies. They don’t strike all at once like disasters that make the ground shake or the waters rise or the wind blow. But they are just as devastating.

I want to call your attention to two coming disasters. Both are man-made—caused by escalating conflict.


Running for His Country in the Olympics

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

At 8 years old, Guor Marial escaped from a labor camp and ran for his life. Twenty years later, he will run for his country.

After escaping enslavement by armed captors twice as a child, Guor moved to the United States and found a love of running. Now, less than a month after his homeland, South Sudan, celebrated the first anniversary of its independence, they will have another reason to cheer. Guor will be in London competing in the marathon at the 2012 Olympics.

Guor won’t be running under the South Sudan flag because the world’s newest nation doesn’t have an official international sports organization, but he will still be representing his country.

“The South Sudan has finally got a spot in the world community,” Guor said. “Even though I will not carry their flag in this Olympic Games, the country itself is there. The dream has come true. The hope of South Sudan is alive.”

Read the rest of Guor’s story in the Los Angeles Times.

Read more about CRS’ human trafficking work and the continued work in South Sudan.

Chat Transcript: South Sudan Independence

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

This is the transcript of a live chat CRS hosted on July 11 about the future of South Sudan just days after they celebrated the first anniversary of their nation’s independence.

Participants included Alfred Okech and Chris Wake live from South Sudan. We were also be joined in our Baltimore headquarters by Dan Griffin, CRS Sudan Advisor, Kathleen Kahlau, CRS Legislative Advisor, and Dr. Stephen Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bringing Peace and Development to South Sudan

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Sean Callahan, CRS executive vice president for overseas operations, recently traveled to South Sudan to witness first-hand the state of the new nation and Catholic Relief Services’ work there. Here are some of his reflections on peace and the role of the Church:

When South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbor last year, it was a moment of tremendous victory for the new nation. But nine months after secession, the country—counted among the most impoverished in the world—continues to face significant challenges.
Tensions and violence on the border with Sudan remain, especially in the areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the border itself has not yet been demarcated. In recent weeks, there have been concerns over oil revenue, with the South accusing the North of stealing its oil—subsequently shutting down all production. Since this is the major source of income for the government of South Sudan, it has put into place austerity measures, which could hamper development efforts.

South Sudan Town Cut Off, Crops Theatened by Rain

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Sudan flood

People travel by boat to the flood-affected community of Agok in South Sudan. Photo by CRS staff

George Okoth,

The mid-September rains completely washed out road access to the town of Agok, South Sudan. This is the same area that only a few months ago received a wave of mass displacement after conflict sent thousands fleeing from the contested area of Abyei. Just as things began to settle, the rains once again forced people from their makeshift homes.

We arrived by car, by boat and by foot. The muddy roads only allowed our 4x4s to venture so far before we had to rely on the boats that would take us from one side of a vastly swollen river to another. The end of our trek consisted of a 3-mile walk to the town of Agok. Our walk was slow, hindered by the mud that stuck to our gumboots and made each step a heavy one.

Church in Abyei: A Symbol of Hope

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 100,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. He shares with us his impressions from the field.

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, by ministering to their spiritual and physical needs. To watch him work is very affirming. The sense of solidarity he fosters is palpable.

Live Chat with a Bishop from Southern Sudan

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Please click the play button in the box below to read the transcript of our recent live, 1-hour chat with Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of southern Sudan. Bishop Kussala chatted with Catholics from around the United States about the current situation in Sudan, the upcoming independence for South Sudan and the great work Catholics in the United States have done on behalf of our brothers and sisters in his homeland.

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.

You can help make that possible.

“My message to the Catholic population is their brothers and sisters in southern Sudan have been under oppression and have been suffering, and they need to be free” Bishop Kussala said. “We need the prayers of the Catholic population, the Christian population. And we need their support, materially, spiritually and morally. And we need them to walk along side us.”

After a 22-year civil war that killed more than 2 million people, against all odds, the people of southern Sudan held a peaceful referendum to declare their independence.

On July 9, The Republic of South Sudan will become Africa’s newest nation.

“The birth of a new country I think has to be a gift to everybody,” Bishop Kussala said. “And everybody should be happy about it.”

Stay with Sudan. Build a future.