South Sudan is starving and needs our prayers
Famine is the latest problem to beset one of the world’s most fragile states, and BMS World Mission is helping hundreds of people in desperate need
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
There was much hope when South Sudan became the world’s newest country in July 2011. Over 1.5 million people had lost their lives during decades of conflict with the north of Sudan. It was hoped, by breaking away, such hardship would come to an end.
But barely two years later a dispute between the President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Vice-President Riek Machar led to civil war which has exploited tribal divisions. More than 300,000 people have been killed and 3.5 million have been displaced, many of whom are living in extreme poverty.
Last week, a famine was declared by the UN in some parts of South Sudan, the first time in six years that a famine has been declared anywhere in the world.
BMS has already been responding to the desperate situation in South Sudan, alongside Christian partners around the world. In 2015, it helped 2,000 displaced families in Narus, providing them a kit containing blankets, plastic sheets, cooking utensils, mosquito nets, fishing nets, hooks and jerry cans.
In autumn 2016, BMS helped provide food packages (maize flour, rice and beans) and emergency relief kits (blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils) for around 500 needy families living close to Juba. One woman who received the relief, spoke for many families when she said how thankful they were for our support. “When we arrived here after fleeing from our homes we came with nothing,” she said. “The blankets, mosquito nets and the food we received will make our stay here more bearable.”
As well as emergency relief, BMS has also been responding to the many cases of gender based violence (GBV) that have taken place during the civil war in South Sudan. Research by the BMS-supported We Will Speak Out Coalition in 2016, when many survivors of sexual violence bravely shared their horrific experiences, was taken up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by BMS Deputy Director for Mission Steve Sanderson.
Steve says that BMS is looking into other ways to support South Sudan and has something to say to all UK Christians.
“The insecurity in South Sudan has led to death, displacement and now famine. I urge all BMS supporters to pray for the country and its desperate people,” he said.
Please pray for South Sudan in your church services, home groups and quiet times. Pray for:
• all those displaced in South Sudan who are struggling to survive
• healing for survivors of GBV during the conflict
• international efforts to bring an end to the fighting
• guidance as BMS explores ways it can best help the people of South Sudan further through the local church
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.