Caritas International has announced that its members will provide $7.6 million to provide essential aid to 100,000 people in South Sudan over the next year.
However, the pledge has come as the U.N. aid agency reports that its workers have been denied access in the Sudan border area. The U.N. refugee agency has urged Sudanese authorities Tuesday to allow access for aid workers that are trying to help thousands of people fleeing fighting in the border state of Southern Kordofan.
As South Sudan prepares to officially become an independent state on July 9, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has become increasingly apparent.
Caritas, a confederation of Catholic relief organisations, has announced that its members in South Sudan would aim to provide 100,000 people with water, food, shelter, health and education.
A release by Caritas has stated: “People in the emerging nation face an acute shortage of basic needs as the country lacks infrastructure and faces high levels of poverty and underdevelopment.”
The organization estimates that a third of all children in South Sudan are currently underweight, and over a third fail to live to their fifth birthday. Furthermore, half the new nation’s population lives in extreme poverty, and literacy rates are as low as 36%.
Caritas has reported: “Members will work together in partnership with the local Catholic Church under a joint program of $7.6 million running up till July 2012.
“The work will focus on repair and rehabilitation of water, sanitation, health and education facilities and the provision of shelter, food and other aid assistance.”
The Catholic Relief Services Sudanese representative, Darren Hercyk, has said, “The people of South Sudan have an historic opportunity to put years of conflict behind them. Caritas has worked side by side with them for decades and we share in their hopes and joy for the new nation’s future.
“Caritas will remain committed to supporting the Church in South Sudan. We will join with them in building a country where access to the basics like clean water, health care, an education and safe birth delivery is guaranteed.”
Caritas has also announced that it is supporting the peace-building initiatives of Sudanese bishops, which among other things currently involve an international prayer campaign, a tree planting initiative in every diocese in South Sudan.