South Sudan: A Turbulent First Year

One year ago, on July 9th 2011, South Sudan became an independent nation. The secession from Sudan was marked with huge celebrations in the capital city, Juba, and around the country. More than 400,000 people poured into South Sudan from Sudan, all hopeful that their lives would be improved, that peace was a reality, and that prosperity was within reach. Declarations from the new country’s leaders were that a new and better era had finally dawned.

It was a false dawn. The world’s newest nation has stumbled through a tumultuous first year. Disagreements with Sudan over the demarcation of the border between the two countries have spilled over into numerous spates of violence and resulted in huge refugee populations. The distribution of oil and related revenues has been another flashpoint, resulting in conflict between the two armies in the oilfields at Heglig. Ethnic tensions have been rife, allegations of corruption widespread, inflation rampant, and many regions have been teetering on the brink of famine, with half of the population now in need of food aid. The town of Wau, where Hope for Kids works with street children, was once notoriously described as being “miserable under the best of circumstances”. This depiction could be applied to describe South Sudan’s first year as an independent nation.

As South Sudan reaches its first birthday, please join us in praying for the country, in particular:

  • PEACE. Talks between South Sudan and Sudan aimed at resolving some of their differences have so far made little progress. Pray for wisdom for negotiators, and a desire to find equitable and long-term solutions. Pray also for tensions between different ethnic groups in South Sudan to be resolved.
  • REFUGEES. 170,000 people have been displaced from their homes as a result of violence, many of them in huge refugee camps, where conditions are dire. Pray that these people would soon be able to return to their homes. Pray for organizations that are working to provide life-saving food, water, and medical care in extremely harsh situations.
  • HEALTH. South Sudan has one of the worst health care systems in the world. Maternal mortality is the highest in the world. Infant mortality rates are also very high. There are a lack of hospitals, health clinics, doctors and basic medicines and equipment. Pray for improved health care provision for South Sudan’s people.
  • EDUCATION. The UN says that a 15-year old girl is more likely to die in childbirth than complete high school. Schools are over-populated and underfunded. Pray for improvements to South Sudan’s education system, and for all children to have the right to go to school.
  • GOVERNMENT. Pray for capable, godly leadership to lead South Sudan forward. Pray against corruption. Pray that wise decision-making that takes into account all of the different tribes in the country.
  • HOPE FOR KIDS. Pray for the children in our home and community programme in Wau. Pray for growth in the number of children that we are able to care for. Pray for the needed funds to construct a new Children’s Home on land that we have purchased nearby.

Posted on July 9th 2012

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