Church leaders of the Anglican and Episcopal churches have been providing shelter and material assistance for people in South Sudan as tens of thousands have been internally displaced or fleeing the country due to the violence that has persisted in the country.
Though the civil war in South Sudan was supposed to have ended in April, spurts of violence have continued as conflicts between the factions supporting the president, Salva Kiir, and the vice president, Riek Machar, have continued to erupt.
According to the most recent United Nations report released on Friday, over 26,000 South Sudanese people have fled the country into Uganda since July 7, and over 8,300 flooded into Uganda on Friday alone, which the agency says is the highest record of people in 2016 that have fled the country in a single day. Andreas Needham, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that 90 percent of those refugees are women and children.
The relief efforts by the church leaders have been organized by the Anglican Alliance, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS), and the ECSSS relief agency called the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (Sudra).
The ECSSS said in a conference call, according to an Anglican Communion News Service report, that many of those who were displaced have been seeking shelter and help from local churches.
By the request of Sudra, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. said they would provide help for 200 families looking for shelter, according to the report. Sudra also requested help to provide food for 14,400 internally displaced people.
"It is -- as so often -- the poorest and most vulnerable who bear the brunt of the violence, who have lost lives, loved ones, and homes," said Dr. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, regarding the situation in South Sudan. "The recent hostilities have demonstrated the fragility of the peace agreement. They have underscored the need for the international community to call the leaders of South Sudan to account in implementing the promise of peace."
"The violence in South Sudan and the subsequent insecurity in the region has forced several international agencies to evacuate their personnel from the country," Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, told Anglican Communion News Service. "The Church, locally based, stands in the breach, protecting the most vulnerable."