Originally published in barnabasaid
Barnabas Fund is launching a major rescue operation to airlift 2,000 of the neediest, most vulnerable Christians stranded and endangered in Sudan to safety and a new life in South Sudan.
The first of 12 chartered flights are due to leave Khartoum for Juba on 7 September. We are transporting approximately 800 women, around two-thirds of whom are widows, and 1,200 children, from the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, where they have been living in makeshift shelters and dire conditions for many months, to the South. Recent heavy rain in Khartoum has caused flooding, making their plight even worse.
They are among hundreds of thousands of people of Southern origin, who remain trapped in Sudan, having been stripped of their citizenship after the South voted to secede.
Given a deadline to leave, many have now made their own way to South Sudan, but the poorest and most vulnerable do not have the resources to transport themselves and their families.
One such family that we are helping is Agnes, a widow, and her three children, who have been living in a small tent at one of the camps outside Khartoum. She cannot get work and the children cannot go to school, leaving them helpless and without any prospects.
As well as being impoverished, Christians remaining in Sudan are extremely vulnerable, as Islamist President Omar al-Bashir has made it clear that they are not welcome in the country. He has repeatedly declared his intention to make the next constitution 100% Islamic and strengthen sharia law.
Barnabas Fund was asked by Africa Inland Church – Sudan, through Friends of Sudan, to help with the repatriation of 2,000 Christians; church and community leaders have identified those most in need. The South Sudanese government has set up temporary reception facilities in Juba, where the returnees can stay for a time before making their way to extended family connections around the country. The Church in South Sudan has also been making preparations to help with the practical needs of the arrivals
“The impact of our support for this project will be that of goodwill done to people who have come to think that they have been forgotten by the wider Christian community. They quote cases where Muslim organisations come to the aid of their fellow Muslims in Sudan and ask ‘Why can’t the Churches and Christians extend a helping hand?’ We are grateful to Barnabas for making this project possible and commend them to you for your generous giving.”
Bishop John Kongi Africa Inland Church, Sudan
The South Sudan ambassador in Khartoum has praised Africa Inland Church and her partners for our plans to evacuate 2,000 people to Juba, and also the efforts to look after those in Khartoum through the provision of plastic sheeting to protect their shelters.