Many Americans attending a Fourth of July party tomorrow will be expecting two things: fireworks and food. It’s a time for getting together with friends and family and enjoying the freedoms that come with our independence.
Six days from now, South Sudan will celebrate their own independence, an independence that was only achieved eight years ago. However, it’s doubtful that there will be much celebrating because, presently, the country is on the brink of famine.
The country’s history is complex. Sudan has been locked in conflict since 1955. When South Sudan’s independence came in 2011, it signaled the end of Africa’s longest-running civil war. It was, however, a short-lived celebration. In December 2013, South Sudan erupted into civil war again, causing division along ethnic and political lines—a traumatic fight characterized by violence against civilians, and in 2017, the UN declared famine in South Sudan.
The latest reports say 6.96 million people, well over half the population, are now in urgent need of help—the highest number ever to face this level of crisis. Among these people, an estimated 21,000 will fall into famine conditions by the end of the month. Not only is hunger an issue, but because of ongoing conflict, millions have been forced from their homes.
“South Sudan is once again facing a very critical situation,” says Martin Ruppenthal, Tearfund’s Country Director for South Sudan. For nearly 50 years, Tearfund has been working among these people, providing support in the midst of conflict; but with famine looming, the most vulnerable people face the greatest risk of starving: pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, children, and people with disabilities.
• 597,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women are acutely malnourished and in need of treatment.
• 860,000 children (6-59 months) are acutely malnourished and in need of treatment, and 30 percent of those are classed as severely malnourished (the most critical level of malnutrition).
Right now, our staff and partners are doing everything they can to help. We are providing food and nutritional support for the most vulnerable, and are ensuring conflict-affected communities get access to safe water. Peacebuilding and development work also remain a high priority.
Join us in helping South Sudan. Your prayers and support make all the difference.
• Pray for the people of South Sudan, particularly in areas facing the worst shortages of food.
• Pray for the efforts of our staff, partners, and other humanitarian groups to get essential supplies to those in most need.
• Pray for lasting peace to come to South Sudan.
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