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Church Agencies Unite to Support South Sudan Relief and Recovery

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA), the humanitarian wing of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS), is supplying food, water and medical care to people displaced by the conflict currently enveloping the world's newest nation.  Episcopal Relief & Development is providing technical assistance and financial support to SUDRA, and serving as the key liaison for a group of Anglican Communion organizations supporting the relief and recovery work.

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"In cooperation with the Anglican Alliance, we are leading a unified response to the current situation in South Sudan," said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development.  "We are working in close partnership with SUDRA and ECSSS to develop and refine the response plan, and to engage our Anglican peers in supporting these critical efforts."

According to a recent UN OCHA situation report, an estimated 646,400 people are currently displaced within South Sudan due to the conflict that erupted on December 15, 2013, between militia loyal to opposing political factions.  Of those seeking refuge within the country's borders, fewer than half have been reached with any kind of assistance.  An additional 123,400 individuals have fled to neighboring countries.  South Sudan has suffered periodic resurgences of conflict since it peacefully separated from Sudan in a referendum vote in 2011.

Working with the group of Anglican and Episcopal agencies, ECSSS and SUDRA have developed a two-phase response to the current crisis.  The first phase addresses the need for immediate help in three areas unreached by other aid, and the second anticipates the Church's role in long-term recovery.

The aim of Phase 1 activities is to reach 5,500 households (44,000 people) in Awerial, Nimule and the area around Juba with food packs distributed by volunteers and medical assistance provided at ECSSS clinics.  The food packs will contain staples such as cornmeal, beans, lentils and milk, and also include bars of soap to enable proper hand-washing and curtail the possible spread of disease in the camps.  Healthcare-related items will support the work of Church clinics in Awerial and Juba and a mobile clinic to be established in Nimule.  An important aspect of this initial work is registering displaced people and assessing needs, as this information will guide future response work and prevent duplication of efforts.

The estimated timeframe of Phase 1 activities is four to six weeks, scaling back as the wider humanitarian community implements its larger response during that time.  The Church will then develop its Phase 2 plan, focusing on the resettlement and rehabilitation of impacted communities.  Long-term recovery work, including psychosocial counseling and programs to foster reconciliation, is an ongoing part of ECSSS' ministry.

"I am grateful to the staff of fellow Anglican Alliance member agencies, and most of all to our partners in South Sudan, for their efforts to strengthen and support the Church in dealing with a disaster of this scale," Program Officer Nesiah said.  "I would urge everyone to keep South Sudan in their prayers, that peaceful negotiations will bring the conflict to an end and that people may soon return home."

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has issued a statement calling for a Day of Prayer for South Sudan on February 16.

Visit Episcopal Relief & Development's South Sudan updates page for the latest news and resources.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency works with Church and ecumenical partners to fight poverty, hunger and disease.

SOURCE Episcopal Relief & Development

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