St. Elizabeth’s Church Coventry 2017 Lenten Appeal Information
Civil war continues in South Sudan with dire consequences. About three weeks ago famine was jointly declared by the government of South Sudan and the UN; this did not come as a surprise from a country already seriously affected by insecurity. Conflict has combined with an economic collapse and a bad drought. With more than three years of lost production in the midst of active war, the economy in crisis, food prices have soared four-fold in some places. Inflation is at 900 per cent and the South Sudan Pound continues to lose value. Some 100,000 people are already said to be affected by famine, while 5.5 million, more than half the population, will not have enough to eat by next month. According to an estimate by the UN Refugees Agency, 86 percent of those fleeing as refugees to neighbouring countries are women and children. These women are fleeing from hunger, war and appalling acts of gender-based violence; the use of rape and other forms of violence against women by men in uniform have continued unabated since the inception of the civil war in 2013. A number of unaccompanied children are also reported to have arrived in different refugee camps in Northern Uganda with many others unaccounted for as the war continues to rage.
Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish is located in Terekeka; a newly established Vicariate and pastoral region of the Archdiocese of Juba. Unlike other parts of South Sudan, Terekeka is less directly affected by insecurity. The relative calm in the area has allowed the women group of the Parish to continue farming along the River Nile, where as a group they grow vegetables and other crops for their families. But these women lack the capacity to acquire the needed implements and seeds due to high prices. They have reached out to the Diocesan Administration and well-wishers for assistance.
Women in violent conflict are always the hardest hit and bear the burnt not only because of abuses, but also because the lives of children, the aged, sick and disabled are depended on them. Any support rendered to these women will save the lives of many. We are grateful in advance to the Justice and Peace Committee and the parish community of St. Elizabeth for supporting St. Mary’s women who are willing to help themselves and their dependents in the dire situation of South Sudan.
Fr. Martin Apostle of Jesus