Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing from the violence that has caused so much death and suffering in South Sudan in the last two months. Media reports have put the death toll from the violence at 1,000, while other reports estimate the number dead to be closer to 10,000.
Refugees are flooding across the border into Gambella, a region in the west of Ethiopia (see map below). There are 70 Anglican Churches in the Gambella Region, and some of these churches are very close to the South Sudanese border.Urgent Needs
Bishop Grant LeMarquand, the Area Bishop for the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa, writes:
“Some of the towns where we have churches near the border have been overrun with large numbers of people fleeing the fighting in South Sudan. In the village I visited last weekend, there are now 4,000 refugees from the Nasir area of South Sudan and it is expected that more will arrive. The UN is preparing a camp, which should take about a month to prepare. Although the refugees were at first sleeping and cooking in church compounds (pictured below), they have now been integrated temporarily into the community, sleeping and cooking in the compounds of the local people.
The refugees will receive food rations once they have been moved to the camp. In the meantime they have been surviving on the generosity of local people, especially the churches, and cutting and selling firewood. I brought 800 kilograms of maize, tarps for shelter from the intense sun, mosquito nets, soap, sugar and salt to the village to the Anglican church in the village. The pastor of church is also the chairman of the village Nuer Council of Churches, which will arrange for the supplies to be distributed.
In the coming weeks I will meet with pastors of our congregations in refugee camps to assess what new needs they have because of the situation in South Sudan. There has been an influx of new people in all of the camps, and it will take some effort on the part of relief agencies and the churches in the camps to assist in the settlement and integration of these newcomers.”
The Episcopal Area has a ‘Samaritan Fund’ which enables the Anglican Church to respond quickly to help our congregations and new refugees. This fund was less than empty when this last crisis hit, as there has been a few desperate needs in the past year. This has included a localised famine in the village of Tiergol, devastating fires which burned several houses of clergy and church members in Gambella town, and surgery for a young girl shot during a cattle raid.
We are seeking support of partners to donate to the Samaritan Fund, enabling the Anglican churches in Gambella to respond to the needs around them.
Give through our partner the Anglican Relief and Development Fund in the USA: http://anglicanaid.net/south-sudan-refugee-crisis/
To contribute directly to Ethiopia, please contact Bishop Grant LeMarquand (email@example.com) or the bank account details are:
Account Name: The Anglican Church in Ethiopia
Account Number: 476/0130422129700
Bank Name: Awash International Bank s.c.
Branch: Arat Kilo
Swift code: AWINETAA
Address: P.O Box 12638