Dear Friends of the Buckeye Health Clinic in South Sudan,
Because so little has been reported in the local or national media on the crisis in South Sudan, many people are asking what is going on. In this email I will try to give the Reader’s Digest version and provide links for further information.
After almost five months of fighting, over 10,000 have been killed, over 1,000,000 people are internally displaced within South Sudan, and 240,000 fled to neighboring countries. The situation got worse two weeks ago when armed Dinka youth killed 48 Nuer in the UN Compound in Bor (the capital city of Jonglei State where the Buckeye Health Clinic is located). Then in retribution, Nuer rebel troops killed over 200 civilians in a Mosque in Bentiu, capital of Unity State.
Both sides have been responsible for attacks on civilians, cities have been looted, hospitals and medical clinics have been heavily damaged, and displaced people have fled their homes and are living without food, clean water, or shelter.
New York Time article U.N. Report Documents Atrocities by Both Sides in South Sudan War: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/world/africa/south-sudan-war.html?_r=0#report
The United Nations has written a 61-page report on the crisis. It includes step-by-step details of the incidents since the conflict began December 15 in Juba. http://www.unmiss.unmissions.org/Portals/unmiss/Human%20Rights%20Reports/UNMISS%20Conflict%20in%20South%20Sudan%20-%20A%20Human%20Rights%20Report.pdf
A week ago, Secretary of State Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited South Sudan and Addis Ababa, the location of the peace negotiations. The United States placed sanctions on one government and one rebel leader with threats of more against anyone who made any action that impedes peace negotiations or commits other atrocities. Other international leaders have been putting pressure on both the government and rebel leaders to meet and put an end the fighting. Yesterday President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar, met and signed a ceasefire agreement.
South Sudan Leaders sign ceasefire agreement:
This is good news! However, a ceasefire was also signed on January 23 and was not honored by either side. I talked with Jok and Bol today, and both of them are optimistic that this could lead to meaningful progress in moving the country forward. They think that the international pressure and the threat of additional sanctions will encourage both sides to enter into serious talks at the negotiation meetings.
However, this does not mean that the plight of the citizens will improve any time soon. Because of the impending rainy season, the United Nations has said if people cannot return to their homes soon to plant crops, South Sudan will face the worst famine in Africa since 1980. Below is a link to a video from the International Rescue Committee. This video was not filmed near the Buckeye Health Clinic, but the people from Piol have fled to a similar area near the White Nile River and are living in the same environment.
Since this crisis began, all of the efforts at the Buckeye Clinic have been directed to providing food and humanitarian aid. On April 12, we successfully delivered almost 6,000 pounds of food and medicines to the clinic. It was distributed to 120 families, about 600 individuals. See the clinic website for photos of the food delivery www.southsudanclinic.org/food-and-medicine-delivered-to-piol-south-sudan/ . We plan to deliver a second shipment food and supplies soon. When people who fled to the Nile River area heard about the food delivery, they came back to the village. We thought they would take the food back to the swampy area where they had been hiding, but they did not. They stayed in Piol. They have begun to repair their tukals (homes) that been un-attended for five months, and plant their crops. They will need supplies to make their homes livable during the rainy season and additional food. Other families will also return to the village if these supplies and food are available.
The people of Piol, South Sudan need our help now more than ever! Many generous people have responded to help reach our goal of $20,000 by the end of May. This will provide assistance before the rainy season begins and the roads become impassable. The $7,000 raised so far will enable the second shipment of food and supplies, but we would like to do more. With your help we can. Your contribution today, will enable us to send more life saving food and supplies to the Piol village where Jok Dau and Bol Aweng were born.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the Buckeye Health Clinic
- Online at www.southsudanclinic.org
- By check, payable to Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church/South Sudan Clinic, and mailed to SRUMC, 4343 Dublin Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026