Photo Credit: Us/Leah Gordon
[Us] Us (formerly USPG) is sending emergency funds to support the Anglican Church in Ethiopia as it reaches out to refugees fleeing war in South Sudan.
A civil war between political factions in South Sudan saw 350,000 refugees fleeing the country for the Gambella and Asosa regions of Ethiopia during 2014.
Now fighting is intensifying and a further 150,000 refugees are arriving in Ethiopia, putting immense pressure on relief efforts.
Most of the refugees arrive with only what they can carry, usually their children and a few clothes.
The needs are enormous. But, with support from the Us, the Anglican Church is doing what it can to provide food aid.
In addition, churches in refugee camps are providing education and serving as community centres.
Report from the Rt Rev Dr Grant LeMarquand, Area Bishop [for the Horn of Africa]
‘A new refugee camp has opened a few kilometres from Gambella town. Another is being established near the town of Matar, and another in the Asosa region near the permanent camp Sherkole (the new camp has been given the poignant name ‘Sorry’).
‘The churches, however, are usually the first stop for the refugees. They often ask for food and shelter.
‘As well as food aid, there are churches in the refugee camps providing literacy classes and other educational support. In this way, the churches function as community centres for many refugees.
‘We have 15 mission centres in Gambella, each of which is a cluster of churches. Some of the churches are in established refugee camps; some are in villages and towns. We have 16 clergy and 90 lay readers in the area, so we are obtaining first-hand information about what is happening.
‘The church has planned food distribution in the Akobo-Tiergol region (accessible only by boat) and in Matar, benefiting 500 families in total.
‘And new church buildings will benefit a further 4,000 refugees. Two new churches are planned for the Jewi and Sorry refugee camps, and repairs will be made to a church in Dima camp, which was badly damaged by termites.
‘In addition, we are also seeking support from other Anglican agencies so hopefully we will have enough to cover immediate needs for the next couple of months.’