The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Lutherans stay in Sudan

A family traumatized by continued fighting in Sudan's civil war waits to be admitted to a hospital in Juba. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million have died from war-related famine and disease; 4 million are homeless. Southern rebels are fighting government efforts to impose Islamic rule on the Christian and animist south.

In March, 11 relief groups were expelled after refusing to sign an agreement giving the Sudan People's Liberation Army greater control over food distribution in rebel-held areas, according to Religious News Service.

The Lutheran World Federation was among 26 agencies to sign the agreement. These groups spend about $25 million in aid to Sudan each year.

"The SPLA is a true representative of the people, and we can't leave people to die," said Belletech Deressa, ELCA director for international development and disaster response. "The agencies that remain are at risk. The strength of LWF is to stay with people who suffer regardless of the risk."


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