Violence in South Sudan forces evacuations

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Funds urgently needed to help suffering children. 

JUBA, SUDAN — The South Sudanese civil war has flared up again in the capital city of Juba. Fulaa Lifeline International reports that at least 300 deaths have occurred since July 8, while more than 30,000 people have been displaced from their homes, many attempting to flee the country into neighboring states.

Fulaa Lifeline International operates a Christian-based Cornerstone Children’s Home in a nearby town.

“It is a dangerous time to be a refugee in South Sudan,” said the Rev. Samuel Juma, executive director of the children’s home. “Many of the desperate are traveling on the Juba-Nimule-Gulu road into Uganda, and their stories are heartbreaking. Armed men are preying upon the vulnerable: beatings, robbing, and killing have all been reported, women and children have been victimized, and men and boys have been forcibly conscripted into the warring factions. A vehicle accident on July 19 on that very road claimed several dozen lives.”

The security situation in Nimule–a town of 45,000 in which the Cornerstone Children’s Home compound is located–has deteriorated with the influx of more than 20,000 refugees. According to Juma, the Ugandan government has sent its own troops north across the border in an effort to safely repatriate its own citizens, and it has closed the checkpoint at Nimule, stranding most of these refugees on the South Sudanese side of the border. They have occupied Nimule and its outskirts, stretching the town’s resources beyond their limit. Many are sleeping out in the open; food and water stocks are critically low.

“Though the compound itself was not directly attacked, the conflict and its aftermath imperiled the safety of the children and impaired our ability to continue to meet their needs going forward,” said Juma. “The government forces have targeted members of our staff for helping to move people out of the country. Thus, with heavy hearts, we decided to evacuate the compound; the children and staff have been sent across the border to Uganda to be kept out of harm’s way and are currently being registered with representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Until housing can be provided, our children and staff will be sleeping on the ground out in the open.”

Juma is reaching out to Evangelical believers in the U.S. with an urgent cry for help.

“We covet your prayers for the safety and health of the dear children who have been entrusted to our care and the many faithful servants of the Lord who look after them,” said Juma. “Please pray with faithful hearts that God would give us the wisdom to recognize the correct actions to take.”

The organization says that the cost to feed and house the children in Uganda will range from $25,000 to $28,000 for two months, and they are seeking to raise at least that amount.

Contributions can be made securely online on the ministry’s donation page.

[www.fulaalifeline.org/Donate.aspx]

Donations can also be mailed to the following address:
Fulaa Lifeline International
3901 Gallows Road
Annandale, VA 22003

Learn more at www.fulaalifeline.org.

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