Help our local partners realise their vision of hope for their communities
As we celebrate ‘One Humanity’ on World Humanitarian Day we think about the challenges faced by men, women and children living in conflict-ridden South Sudan and we remember the work of our partners, the Diocese of Wau, in tirelessly serving those displaced by conflict.
South Sudan is a country that has seen unimaginable violence and suffering since a brutal civil war broke out in December 2013. A fragile peace deal agreed in August 2015 has been marred by outbreaks of violence in different parts of the country this year, culminating in mid-July with fighting in Juba that displaced almost 40,000 civilians.
The humanitarian needs in South Sudan are desperate. As of June 2016, UNOCHA reported that a staggering 1.6 million people are thought to be displaced within the country and 6.1 million are considered to be ‘in need’ with urgent requirements for food, shelter, health treatment and clean water.
Of the 1.6 million displaced, only 170,000 of those are in UN Protection of Civilians camps. The vast majority are sheltering with local communities, many in locations beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance due to insecurity or heavy rains.
The region where the Diocese of Wau works is sadly not unfamiliar with violence and displacement. The lives of people there have been repeatedly shaken since civil war broke out in 2013 and the region has played host to communities of displaced people from surrounding states. For several years the Diocese of Wau has worked to deliver life-saving supplies, education and agricultural support to those in desperate need across five states, Lol, Wau, Gogrial, Twic and Tonj (formerly Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap).
The diligent and tireless efforts of staff at the Diocese of Wau to helping those in need, regardless of tribe, ethnicity or origins, and often at great risk to themselves, is a true testament to their belief in one humanity and shared responsibility towards each other. The photos that follow give a snapshot of conditions in the area in which the Diocese is at work, conditions that have been replicated across South Sudan for the last three years. They provide a glimpse into what life is like for those that the Diocese so sacrificially serves.
Man-Angui IDP Camp, Gogrial State (formerly Warrap)
This is a spontaneous settlement of several thousand people who have fled their homes because it was simply too dangerous to remain. Most were forced to leave with nothing, many separated from families, and continued insecurity prevent them from returning.
Turalei IDP Camp, Twic State (formerly Warrap)
In late June 2016, intense fighting broke out in Wau town between SPLA and youths associated with the opposition leading thousands to flee their homes and exacerbating the already severe humanitarian needs in the area. International Organisation for Migration figures estimate that there are some 83,000 people displaced in Wau and its surroundings. The Diocese of Wau has played a key role in distributing food aid to IDPs sheltering in church compounds in the town of Wau. You can read more about their efforts here.
A Long-Term Vision
The Diocese not only tackles pressing humanitarian needs but it is committed to long-term development in the area. Given the devastating effects of the conflict on food security and the high rates of dependence on unreliable food aid the Diocese recognises that agriculture is key to rebuilding communities. They provide tools, seeds and training to help diversify agriculture, making it more resistant to evolving climatic challenges.
We’re so thankful for all of the amazing work our partners do. You can read more about the work of the Diocese of Wau on their website.
For more information please read our visit reports on South Sudan.
Disclaimer: This blog is a space for discussion and personal reflection. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and are not necessarily held by HART. Individual authors are responsible for the accuracy of statements made within the blog.