“Most of the refugees in my diocese are suffering. They are living without food and shelter,” he said, thanking Caritas and the community in Malakal for recently providing food for returnees. “We are humbly asking our partners and donors to save lives by donating anything they have to the church so that we can reach out to many people.”
Pastor Majok Chol of the Pentecostal Church of South Sudan is offering counseling to returning refugees, many of whom are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He said Pentecostal churches in the region were supporting refugees with food and helping returning South Sudanese rebuild their houses and livelihoods.
“We are dealing with returnees who have undergone serious trauma as a result of the ongoing war in Sudan,” said Chol. “Women have been sexually and physically abused, children have dropped out of school, and others are pregnant because they have been raped during the war, and men are stressed because they are unable to provide for their starving families.”
He noted that the churches are trying their best to meet basic needs, raise funds to help construct houses and toilets for returnees and offer mental health counseling. However, he said, their resources are limited, and they can’t reach out to everyone.
“The churches and communities are appealing for funding to continue feeding thousands of refugees and those returning from Sudan,” he said. “The situation is currently deplorable. It was recently heartbreaking to watch families and their children going to bed without food. Women and their children were looking thin and weak, and others were very sick.”
Meanwhile, Kueth Mayout, another returning South Sudanese refugee, urged the government of South Sudan to work hard to restore peace and security across the country so refugees can go back to their homes and live without violence.
“This could be another option for the government,” she said. “They should ensure we are safe when we go back to our homes so that we are able to rebuild our lives and contribute to the betterment of the country.”
This article originally appeared here.