Lutheran Disaster Response

Our response to disasters in the U.S. and around the world; look for sections of this blog related to specific disaster locations. Comments are welcomed and moderated.

South Sudan: Healing Through Play

Posted on January 28, 2013 by Matthew Ley

Children playing after school at the Yusuf Batil camp in Maban, South Sudan. Credit: LWF/Melany Markham

Children playing after school at the Yusuf Batil camp in Maban, South Sudan.

The school day has finished and the children are running out the doors to find their favorite jump rope or ball or to join their favorite game. As the children laugh and pant, running around the field the sun finally sets and they head home for dinner, tired but happy.

A pretty common story for many of us as we remember back to our childhood days, as well it should be. These moments of play can have a major impact on the children who engage in them. This fact is not lost on the Lutheran World Federation who has taken seriously the need and impact of play as an act of healing for children in refugee camps, who may be escaping violence or disease. In places like Yusuf Batil camp in Maban, South Sudan the LWF is creating child-friendly spaces and supplying the resources to let kids be kids, in the midst of this major disruption in their lives.

It’s another great example of how the ELCA, through our membership in the LWF, is helping to support more holistic approaches to disaster response and humanitarian aid. In the United States we support a similar program called Camp Noah, to help children process the impacts of disaster upon their lives.

To learn more about how this particular ministry is playing out at the Yusuf Batil camp and why it is so important, read the LWF story Healing through Play.

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Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Kenya, South Sudan & Sudan: New (and Returning) Arrivals at Kakuma

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Matthew Ley

A new feature story from the Lutheran World Federation looks at the increasing number of South Sudanese and Sudanese who are ending up at Kakuma refugee camp in northwesetern Kenya. For some this is a return trip after they left the camp years ago to move home to Sudan and the new country of South Sudan. Yet violence on the border of the two countries and internally with South Sudan have led them to flee for safer areas.

The situation is also heightened because Kakuma has also been taking overflow Somali refugees from the overcrowded Dadaab camp on the Kenya-Somilia border. This has led to a situation in Kakuma where overcrowding and processing have also become problems. Read the report from Rose Karimi, LWF gender equity and human rights officer at Kakuma camp, to learn more about the situation and the work of the Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance in the camp.

Back Again at the Reception Center

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Sudan: Southern Kordofan Conflict

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Matthew Ley

After the January referendum results were announced in February and it was learned that the overwhelming majority of Southern Sudanese were in favor of seceding from Sudan and forming a new country there were worries that violence would be renewed between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the north and Nuba-SPLA (Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army) in the south. Yet, immediately after the announcement violence was kept to a minimum and the world prepared for a new independent republic to be formed July 9, 2011 in the area currently known as Southern Sudan.

Unfortunately, this calm was broken this past week with fighting between the SAF and SPLA taking place in the region of South Kordofan, which rests on the border that will exist between the to-be-created republic and the country of Sudan. There have also been reports that this violence has spilled over to include a high number of civilian casualities. According to a June 11 OCHA Report over 50,000 people have been displaced because of the violence with around 6,000 finding refuge at the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) compound on the outskirts of Kadugli.

With much of the humanitarian and press core communities being kept out of the country reports are spotty and aid is scarce. As we learn more we will continue to post updates. In the meantime please keep the people of Sudan in prayer as the innocent fall victim to the ruthless ambitions of the few and as a new country strarts to find its footing in this volatile area.

To learn more check out the ELCA Disaster Response page Sudan: South Kordofan Conflict. To get involved see the ELCA’s Washington Office’s Action Alert.

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Sudan: Sounding the Trumpet

Posted on January 19, 2011 by meganbradfield

Sudan referendum comes to a close. ACT/DCA/Nils Cristensen

Voting in South Sudan concluded this past weekend, possibly marking the birth of Africa’s newest country.  An article published by the ACT Alliance accounts the story of Anglican Bishop Paul Yugusuk and his pledge to be last person to vote at his station.  “And once I have cast my vote, I’ll blow my trumpet to mark the end of slavery and oppression in southern Sudan.”

While the voting was overall very peaceful, painful memories were revived this week as 10 southerners were killed as they tried to move from the north, a low point in a referendum week otherwise dominated by hope and joy. The killings also reminded everyone that while the voting process appeared to have been successful, a very complicated, difficult and dangerous period still lay ahead for all of Sudan, regardless of the outcome.

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro recounted how the church led southerners in 101 days of peace prayers up to the referendum – a prayer for a change in our hearts and a prayer for a change in Sudan, he said.

Pointing to a mock ballot box placed at the alter, the archbishop promised the congregation he would pray at the ballot box for continued peace every day until July 9, the day the six year-long peace agreement between north and south Sudan expires.

Click here to read the full article.

Please continue prayer petitions for peace and security for those in Sudan.  Click here for Worship Resources from the ELCA.

Peace ~ Megan

Sudan Referendum – Statement from ACT General Secretary

Posted on January 11, 2011 by Matthew Ley

As the week-long referendum vote for independence in southern Sudan enters its third day things appear for the most part to be going smoothly. In this historic moment in the life of not only Sudan but all of Africa the hope continues to be for a just and peaceful process, through the rest of the voting period, the month-long wait for final results (due Feb 6) and as the results are implemented.

In a statement from the ACT Alliance, General Secretary John Nduna calls for all parties to ensure that the referendum is free and fair. He also states that ACT does not take a stance on the outcome of the referendum and will continue to meet the needs of those in greatest need. The statement also gives a good overview of ACT’s work in Sudan.

The ELCA is a member of the ACT Alliance.