To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in South Sudan.
The world’s newest nation is also one of its most embattled. It became independent from Sudan in 2011, but two years later civil war erupted. This has driven 4.5 million people from their homes and put more than 6.1 million people in emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity – meaning they lack sufficient access to nutritious food.
Famine was declared in parts of the country in February 2017, the first time in six years that anywhere in the world had reached this level of food insecurity. Within a few weeks Tearfund, alongside the Disasters Emergency Committee, launched the East Africa Crisis Appeal, covering Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, as well as South Sudan.
Reaching the vulnerable
Humanitarian access to South Sudan has become increasingly limited by violence, but our staff team and partners are working hard to bring immediate and longer-term support to communities.
Tearfund’s current projects include providing access to food for vulnerable households, targeted nutrition for malnourished children and their mothers, and water and sanitation provision to conflict-affected communities. We are also working with churches to mobilise their communities in peacebuilding and development work.
Since the Crisis Appeal was launched last year, Tearfund has provided (across the four countries):
• Food assistance for 114,000 people
• Water for 65,000 people
• Hygiene and sanitation for 30,000 people
• Malnutrition treatment for 14,000 people
However, despite the extensive humanitarian support from many agencies, the situation remains desperate in 2018. The region faces its fifth consecutive year of below average rainfall and the scale of the need is alarming.
The lack of peace has compounded the problems already faced by the South Sudanese people. For the previous five years leaders have been back and forth in negotiating a peace agreement. The most recent talks were held in Addis Abiba, Ethiopia, in September. Two of the country’s rival leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, agreed and shook hands on what they called a ‘final, final’ peace agreement.
Since then the violence has continued. While the hope is that lasting peace will come, expectations are low for many people in South Sudan, because of the number of failed peace agreements and the ongoing violence.
• The nation of South Sudan needs lasting-peace. Pray that the most recent talks and subsequent agreement will hold and the country can recover from its tumultuous times.
• Pray for those who are hungry, that Tearfund and our partners will be able to bring food assistance to the most vulnerable.
• Lift up the Tearfund team and our partner staff in South Sudan, who are so committed to its people and their needs. Pray for their health and protection.
If you would like to know more, please visit our South Sudan page. And if you've missed any other articles in this series you can find them here.