SOUTH SUDAN EXPECTED TO FACE ‘HUNGRIEST YEAR’ IN 2022
South Sudan is currently facing the worst hunger crisis in its 11-year history, as nearly 8.5 million of the country’s 11.2 million people are expected to face extreme hunger this year. The latest humanitarian report on South Sudan has not yet been released, however, preliminary data estimates an 8% increase in hunger this year over last year. The World Food Programme (WFP) representative for South Sudan told the Associated Press that 2021 was the worst year on record for the country in terms of food security and that 2022 is expected to be much worse. Much of the current food scarcity is due to three years of record flooding that has affected nearly one million people across the country, destroying crops and killing many of the population’s livestock. Natural disasters and ongoing violence have caused the internal displacement of thousands of people, placing a further strain on local communities’ resources, while continuous political turmoil and civil war have caused around one million to flee to neighbouring Uganda as refugees. The United Nations cut its assistance to several areas in South Sudan by 50% in 2021 due to funding restraints, affecting over three million people. Further funding cuts ended all food rations to refugees living in Uganda, compounding the hardships the South Sudanese people are facing. The government’s inability to implement a peace deal between the warring factions has hampered the delivery of services. Residents in the state of Jonglei told the Associated Press that people have begun to eat ground-up flowers and grass, and the number of malnourished children in medical centres has increased.
FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
The Christian Church in South Sudan has played a role in trying to alleviate the suffering faced by the people since the country’s independence in 2011. Organisations from the South Sudan Council of Churches – such as the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) – have been faithfully working to garner assistance from churches within South Sudan and abroad to provide much-needed physical aid to those suffering. However, even with organisations such as the PRDA working on the ground, the need remains great. The situation in South Sudan provides the global Church yet another opportunity to tangibly demonstrate Jesus’ love and compassion for the poor. It is easy to lose sight of the tremendous needs amid long-standing conflicts, but the Church is reminded in Galatians to not grow weary of doing good. The ongoing instability in South Sudan hinders the return of refugees who have fled to Uganda and other neighbouring countries, which places strain on local communities who are also living without vital resources. The Church can continue to support the South Sudanese by praying for a resolution to the conflict, as well as for the host communities in surrounding nations who are struggling to care for those displaced by the conflict.
Please pray with us for the following:
- For a peaceful resolution to South Sudan’s political turmoil
- For much-needed food and other resources for those who are suffering and that the Church will play an effective role in the restoration of South Sudan
- For local church communities to be beacons of hope to their fellow South Sudanese living in and outside of South Sudan
Image: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola