South Sudan: how we’re helping people in the crisis
Put yourself in these shoes: you’re born in north-eastern Africa, into a country with a history of war. From 1955 to 1972 and 1983 to 2005, millions lose their lives. And then there is hope. In 2011, the place you’re from becomes its own country – South Sudan. But hope vanishes all too quickly. In 2013, civil war breaks out. Your safety is threatened and you are forced to run. You leave everything behind – your home, your possessions and people you love. You travel many miles by foot to a refugee camp in neighbouring Uganda. Tired and hungry, you reach the camp to find out that food is running out. How will you survive the famine? How will you ever know peace?   It's hard to even imagine this kind of life, if you’ve lived in the UK for most of yours. But it’s a reality in South Sudan. Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing civil war. Today people are displaced throughout the country and across borders into neighbouring countries. And now these people are at risk of starvation.    BMS is responding to this urgent need. Most recently we’ve given two relief grants of over £26,000 that will help around 1,400 people. Watch the video below to hear from Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission. He shares how BMS is responding to the famine in East Africa and the importance of relief work at BMS.   

BMS relief work in South Sudan from BMS World Mission on Vimeo.

  One of the grants your giving has made possible will help the most vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) within camps in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Poor living conditions, an extremely high number of people in the camps and food shortages have made it a desperate situation. To help, we are giving food supplies like beans, maize flour and cooking oil to around 800 people, with priority being given to pregnant women, households headed by women, disabled people, the elderly and children.   The other grant BMS is funding will support a project providing emergency food rations and tools and seeds for harvesting crops for IDPs in Kajo-Keji County, near the border with Uganda. Around 600 vulnerable people will receive emergency food rations. Around 100 families will also receive saucepans, cups, plates, buckets and jerry cans. Beyond just handing out food, this project is also equipping and empowering people to grow their own food by giving them tools and seeds. This should provide an additional layer of food security for people in the next few months. Both projects have already begun, the first steps being to identify the people who will need help most and training workers to help them. BMS volunteer, Carwyn Hill, is assessing the situation in South Sudan to identify the best way for BMS to support IDPs within the country and refugees in camps in Northern Uganda.     Steve Sanderson, BMS Deputy Director for Mission, knows how important it is to ensure our response is most effective in this fragile area and not forget the people of South Sudan.   “The crisis in South Sudan, both the conflict and famine, is receiving so little international attention and as such it is slipping from people’s minds. We urge you to pray for the people fleeing their homes, facing violence and losing everything,” says Steve. “Thanks to your support, we are able to work in collaboration with trusted partners to respond to the needs and are exploring how else we can work in the region.”      It’s really hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. But it’s important. We must not forget the people of South Sudan. We must all keep helping and praying. Thank you for your prayers and giving.   Want to do more to help people in South Sudan?One way you can is by giving to BMS disaster recovery ministries right now. You can also help through prayers. Here’s how you can pray today:   • Pray for people who have lost everything, that they would feel God’s peace and practical help.   • Pray for the people of South Sudan who have faced significant instability due to famine, conflict and displacement.   • Pray for people working on the ground in South Sudan. Pray that God gives them wisdom to find resolutions.   • Pray for the new work BMS is exploring, that we would identify the most effective ways to help in this time of desperate need.    • Pray for South Sudan’s neighbouring countries, that they would continue to be welcoming hosts to refugees and that this added strain would not lead to more conflict.    *Photo credit to Carwyn Hill   25/05/2017
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