By Brad Phillips
Last week, PPF sent out a press release reporting on the recent bombing of Darfur refugees in Southern Sudan. Although these incidents were far from the worst behavior we have witnessed from the National Congress Party in Khartoum (formerly known as the National Islamic Front), it especially hit home to us because Jaac Payam, where the attacks took place, is an area where PPF has worked for six years.
The airstrikes were the latest in a string of violent actions in the Darfur border area, which began in August. The result has been hundreds killed and thousands displaced from their homes. More than 15,000 people have fled the border and moved further south, straining the PPF-sponsored resources like wells and medical facilities.
There is an immediate need for clean water, food, and medical care to help in this new humanitarian crisis. PPF has 62 wells in the Jaac area, but many are currently broken due to overuse by the swelling population. Each well is designed for 500 people, but several thousand are currently using each well. When one breaks, people move to another well, straining the new well and eventually breaking it, starting a domino effect on other wells.
The good news is that roads are finally drying, making the affected area accessible for relief shipments.
The bad news is, because of security concerns and the upcoming referendum in January, there are no other organizations operating in the Jaac area to help the victims. It’s just us. Jaac is very remote, and PPF has been the only permanent NGO presence in Jaac since its establishment as a refugee settlement in 2004.
The Northern Government hopes to spread mayhem all along the border prior to January. And the Southern Government has chosen not to retaliate, because it believes it would threaten the scheduled referendum. To the Southern government, the referendum in January is all-important. Western governments, including the US, have promised to support the outcome of the vote, which everyone knows will mean Africa’s newest country is inaugurated. When this happens, Southern Sudan will officially be free from Northern oppression.
But what about the Jaac residents, who are being treated as little more than pawns in a massive game of diplomatic chess? They have us, their brothers and sisters in America, who have consistently stood with them from the beginning.
I am writing to you today to let you know that PPF’s response is not limited to a press statement. We are doing something about it.
This great need requires our quick response, and we would like your help to make this happen.
Our reliance during these unexpected challenges has always been on God’s provision through your compassion and generosity. I feel bad when I have to make an outright appeal for support, because I know so many of you have already given sacrificially. I don’t want to take that for granted. Thank you for all you have done.
I simply lay this need before you and ask for your prayerful consideration. In addition to our budgeted needs, we need to raise another $161,000 by the end of the year to help the victims in Jaac. Any part you play in this will be gratefully appreciated. Our pledge is to do all we can with what God puts into our hands to help our persecuted brethren in Jaac.