Violence in Southern Sudan casts shadow over new nation

By April 22, 2011

Southern Sudan (MNN) — Military tensions, political disputes, and poverty threaten
Southern Sudan as the nation heads towards independence from the North in less
than three months.

The United Nations says in the first four months of 2011, hundreds
have died and 94,000 have been displaced because of violence in Southern Sudan.
If the violence continues, they are warning of a humanitarian crisis.

Since the euphoria of Southern Sudan's decision to secede in
January, heavy violence from the north has blanketed the country. Southern Sudan is slated to become the world's
newest country in July.

A combination of intertribal violence, militia fighting, and
Lord's Resistance Army rebel activity forced the government to declare the
hardest hit areas "no-go zones." Matt Parker with Kids Alive International says on
top of the violence, "There is a huge move of Southerners who are living in the
North of the country migrating back to the South. There are food shortages, there's
a lack of housing, and there is very little medical care and few schools."

The influx of people into the South, coupled with kids in the North being trucked to the South, created
an overnight population of street children. "Part of it is due to the war, families being displaced, children being
displaced. A lot of it is to do with poverty."

Parker says they have a children's home in Wau, a city whose
streets are teeming with the street kids doing anything they can to stay alive. "Many of the kids there are just dressed in
rags. Children as young as five or six years of age, picking through the
garbage just looking for scraps of food, looking for things that they could
sell." They're a vulnerable population, notes Parker. "Those kids are at risk from abuse, disease, gangs, and forced prostitution, just so they can survive."

Kids Alive's mission is to rescue orphaned and abandoned
children from a life of hopelessness by caring for their physical and spiritual
well-being. They're doing that in Wau
with the 16 they've been able to help.   

Parker admits, "We're not going to be able to care for every
kid that is on the streets in Wau," but he says, "we'd like to expand our
ministry, reach out to more of these children, provide them with their day-to-day needs, give them hope and an
education that will give them hope for
the future, but then also share with them the love of Christ."

To that end, "We bought some land nearby. We would like to
construct three children's homes on that piece of land, caring for 40 kids."

The difference between the street kids and the children in Kids
Alive homes was astounding. Parker
explains, "It was their eyes. These kids' eyes were lifeless. There was no hope
in the eyes of these children. Going to the children's home, there was such a
contrast, just seeing the eyes of the kids
there, being full of life and joy."

The transition into a new nation will be perilous. "Pray for Sudan at this time, with the
separation coming up in July. Pray for the people of Sudan. Pray at this time
of change that God would be at work bringing His hope, His peace into a very
uncertain situation."

Kids Alive is also involved with trying to help the
refugees, too. They're providing a kit of staples to help.

$45 provides an Emergency Survival Pack for one with a month's supply of
beans, rice, oil and water. Each survival
pack contains God's Word so that people can drink Living Water and meet Jesus
Christ, the Bread of Life. Click here if you can help.

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