Scared for the Future of Sudan
After providing medical treatment and support for six years to thousands of refugees living at Bidi Bidi – then the largest refugee camp in the world – Nurse Noeleen Loughran recently returned to South Sudan with the influx of refugees being forced out of the closing camps in Uganda. She currently ministers to the needs of hundreds of ostracized men, women, and children discovered to be living in a leper colony in the village of Malo, near Rumbek, South Sudan, where she is working to transform lives and turn their community around.
I am scared.
I am not just scared about the current plight of the people of South Sudan, but of their future as well.
Right now, the Bidi Bidi Camp in Uganda is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, with more than 300,000 refugees. Each day, these people must deal with death, disease, dehydration, and starvation, and it’s not uncommon for a majority of the refugees to go to bed without food in their stomachs.
As the Covid19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that it has not struck the Bidi Bidi Camp. But that doesn’t mean the refugees are not feeling the effects of the disease.
Covid-19 has made it difficult to get supplies to the camp, which has led to a terribly high reduction of food rations – almost 30%. According to the World Food Programme, these meager rations will be cut by another 20% very soon. That means that only 2 out of every five children will be getting a warm meal.
One of the most horrifying effects of the pandemic is that it has also cut down on medicine and health supplies being transported to the camp. With healthcare being such a rare commodity, refugees have taken to trading their already tiny rations for medicine.
With the social distancing guidelines, it’s become extremely difficult for myself and other missionaries to go into the camp to help the refugees. We are constantly making covert attempts at delivering food and medicine so as not to be caught by armed forces, who are violently enforcing lockdown rules, going so far as using plastic bullets and tear gas.
Various agencies are attempting to portray the situation as hopeful in South Sudan, but having seen the horrors firsthand, I can tell you that it is a grim portrait. These poor refugees are stuck in a lifestyle of hunger, homelessness, and despair. Their only options are: stay in Uganda and die from starvation and sickness, or return to South Sudan where they will most likely be killed by bandits, soldiers, and raiders.
Thankfully, my fellow missionaries and I continue to fight for these refugees because of our profound faith in God and the personal need to do His will. God has blessed us with generous donors who have helped us save countless lives. For that, I want to thank each and every person who has contributed to our mission, and we want you to know that your prayers and financial assistance are making an incredible difference.