Christian Groups Provide Relief to War Victims in Sudan

“Churches have been at the heart of caring for the Sudanese people throughout this brutal conflict.
( [email protected] ) May 07, 2004 06:06 AM EDT

SUDAN -- Christian groups are taking action to intervene in Sudan to stop crimes against humanity along with other human rights group and to provide emergency relief to the victims.

Food for the Hungry, Christian-based humanitarian group which is devoted to provide emergency relief to countries around the world, is providing relief assistance to refuges fleeing to eastern Chad from war-torn Sudan, including implementing two developmental programs in agricultural education and preventive health.

Partnering with the Association of Evangelical Churches and Missions in Chad, Food for the Hungry, is distributing food and hygiene items to needy Sudanese families in the refugee camps in eastern Chad, where they are forced to go.

A U.N. agency reported Wednesday that Sudan is facing a massive humanitarian crisis because of a bloody war driven by Arab Muslim armed forces broke out in attempt to drive out African Muslim tribes. The government and Arab militia have forced more than one million people to leave from their homes in the western Darfur region, bombing villages, and especially attacking vulnerable women and children.

“Ten years after the Rwandan genocide and despite years of soul-searching, the response of the international community to the events in Sudan has been nothing short of shameful," Human Rights Watch said in its 77-page report.

Over the 21 years of bloodshed in Sudan, more than two millions of people were killed, one million displaced, and about 110,000 refugees forced to flee into Chad.

Food for the Hungry further explained about the deadly current situation of Sudan, saying that the livestock are dying rapidly and the decaying carcasses are becoming a health risk with existing medical clinics becoming completely inadequate resources.

According to Food for the Poor, Sudan is the largest country in Africa, made up of mostly flat grasslands and desert. The land is rich with great agricultural and mineral resources but the land remains desolate because of the war. The war that has plagued Sudan is one of the longest in the 20th century. In the last 48 years, Sudan has experienced only 11 years of peace, leaving over two million deaths, 500,000 refugees and almost the entire southern population displaced during the course of the war.

“Each day many Sudanese do not know how they are going to survive. They have no means to care for themselves. They feel there is little hope,” said Ben Homan, president of Food for the Hungry. “We want to help provide that hope -- with immediate needs like food and medical care -- and by treating people with the respect that they deserve.”

The Sudanese government has been also engaged in a religious war, attacking Christians in the south, perpetuating a complex humanitarian crisis in the south. The government has been forcing millions to run for their lives, severely disrupting agriculture, schooling and healthcare services, and compounding drought-related famine, World Relief, a humanitarian group under the National Association of Evangelicals, which equips churches to help the needy, reported.

But now, Sudanese Christians are slowly finding peace with the help of local churches. Amazingly, there has been changes made in the community to improve quality of life and bring freedom and social stability.

“The moment that peace is declared, the Church must be ready to act,” Calver urged. “Churches have been at the heart of caring for the Sudanese people throughout this brutal conflict. Now, we must get ready to empower the Sudanese churches to rise to the fore in time of peace.”

Besides proving food, healthcare, education, and all other needs of people in Sudan, World Relief is working together with the body of churches to develop social ministries that could empower social service in the community.

“Now is a crucial time in southern Sudan,” Calver explained. “The Church has unprecedented opportunities to enable agriculture, education, healthcare and other essential services to flourish. As we live out the gospel in Sudan, hurting people find true peace in Jesus.”