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Anglican churches provide aid to thousands of victims of South Sudan's civil war

The Anglican community extended assistance for thousands of those who are affected in the devastated Juba region of South Sudan that recently escalated in its state of unrest.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service, Sudra (the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency) announced Tuesday that it planned to extend its food assistance to around 14,400 internally displaced people from the affected areas of Juba, Kajo Keji, Yei, Lainya, and Rajaf.

(Reuters/Beatrice Mategwa/United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS))Displaced South Sudanese families are seen in a camp for internally displaced people in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Tomping, Juba, South Sudan, July 11, 2016.

This comes only a few days after Sudra and the leaders of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS) agreed during a conference call with the Anglican Alliance to support at least 200 families in the All Saints' Cathedral Compound.

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), also assists Sudra in caring for these families.

Nagulan Nesiah, ERD's senior program officer for disaster response and risk reduction, noted the heightened violence in the area around the church grounds during the weekend but that "the Cathedral itself is able to provide some security to about 1,000 people."

"We are keeping the Church and Sudra in our thoughts and stand ready to offer additional assistance as needed," Nesiah told ACNS.

ECSSS also reported during the conference call that most of the estimated 42,000 internally displaced people in Juba turned to the churches for safety. Despite the ceasefire that's been announced recently, people are hesitant to return home for fears of violent outbreaks that erupted in Lainya, Yei, Kajo Keji, and Wau.

Revd. Rachel Carnegie of Anglican Alliance said that while the violence sent most in the international agencies back to their countries, the local churches stood their ground to protect the "most vulnerable."

"It is inspirational to witness the courage and commitment of the bishops and provincial team responding so quickly and effectively to the crisis when many of them have themselves been driven from their homes by the violence," said Revd. Carnegie. "We urge prayer for peace and for protection of the Church and communities. The Anglican Alliance also commends support to the Church's humanitarian response."

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