Fighting and militia attacks are causing a situation in Sudan that the ELCA Division for Global Mission calls "one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in recent times."
"There are fears that the situation, if not urgently addressed, could be reminiscent of the Rwanda genocide," said Y. Franklin Ishida, the division's director for leadership development and mission personnel recruitment.
Nils Carstensen, head of an Action by Churches Together International coordination assessment team, said, "It will be a crisis that will look like hunger and famine, but underneath it are other issues that are equally, if not more important, than food." The biggest issue is lack of security as a government-allied militia group continues to raid villages, torturing and killing residents.
The ELCA sent $75,000 to support humanitarian efforts in regions where fighting led to a massive displacement of people.
In Darfur, the western region of Sudan, militia attacks caused 830,000 people to be internally displaced and more than 110,000 people — 75 percent of them women and children — to flee to neighboring Chad.
Due to the number of refugees, local resources have run out. Getting aid to refugees in Darfur is problematic since the Sudanese government has been denying access, Ishida said.
Through the International Disaster Response, the ELCA sent $25,000 to ACT for implementation by Norwegian Church Aid, which is providing water and sanitation services for up to 30,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad. Families will receive tools and seeds to grow food.
In a separate appeal for funds by ACT, the ELCA sent $50,000 to support the work of the Sudan Council of Churches. The council is targeting 16,000 people who have been identified as the most vulnerable and have not received any assistance in the upper Nile region of Sudan.
To help, send checks designated "Sudan" to ELCA International Disaster Response, PO Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764; call (800-638-3522), or give online at www.elca.org/giving.
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