ACT update Sudan: Relief assistance for IDPs in Eastern Equatoria & Northern Bahr el Ghazal - AFSD-31


Appeal Target: US$ 918,235
Geneva, 11 February 2003

Dear Colleagues,

The people of southern Sudan continue to be victims of the conflict between the government of Sudan forces and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA). Fighting continues and especially aerial bombing by the Sudan government forces despite the current ongoing peace negotiations in Machakos, Kenya under the auspices of IGAD. In the Eastern Equatoria counties of Magwi and Torit, the government of Sudan has for several years harboured the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel movement, in retaliation for Uganda's sympathetic stance towards the SLPA. However, in 2002 the government of Sudan withdrew its support to the LRA and allowed the Ugandan People's Defence Forces to enter Eastern Equatoria in an attempt to force the LRA back into northern Uganda from their bases in southern Sudan. The failure of this mission resulted in increased conflict and insecurity in the area as the LRA turned against the local communities and hundreds of people were reported to have been massacred. The attacks caused further massive displacement of people in the region. Over 7,000 households are estimated to be displaced in Eastern Equatoria from a combined offensives of the SPLA, the government of Sudan, and the LRA forces.

In Gogrial County, Bahr el Ghazal, over 10,000 families are estimated displaced from the conflict between the SPLA and the Government of Sudan.

The displaced people are living in deplorable conditions, lacking in most of the basic humanitarian needs such as shelter, food, clean water, clothing, and medical facilities. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) working through local partners propose to provide relief assistance to the affected communities in both Magwi and Torit Counties in Eastern Equatoria Region and in Gogrial County in the Bahr el Ghazal Region. While NCA will assume responsibilities as the lead agency in the appeal, the overall management of the appeal, such as financial accountability, reporting and monitoring will be the responsibility of Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS).

In the appeal budget, a provision of $5,000 has been included for the ACT Co-ordinating Office field visits to the program areas during the year.

Project Completion Date: 31 March 2004

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

ACT CO Monitoring
Total Targets US$
Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr Recd
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information : ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Elizabeth Ferris
Diakonia & Solidarity
World Council of Churches
John Nduna
Acting Director
Robert Granke
LWF/World Service


  • Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS)


Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS) is an ecumenical consortium made up of three international Christian networks (Caritas Internationalis, Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches) and the two Sudanese Church Councils (Sudan Council of Churches and the New Sudan Council of Churches). It was formed in 1996.

By virtue of its mandate and composition, CEAS always works in partnership with other organisations, both local and international. These include generalised church development agencies, individual church dioceses, international faith-based NGOs and Sudanese indigenous NGOs (SINGOs).

Partner Organisations - Norwegian Church Agency (NCA)

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) is an autonomous, ecumenical development organisation, based in Oslo, Norway, with 50 years of global experience in development work.

NCA has been operational in Sudan, in the sectors of relief and development since 1972, assisting local populations and churches in both the Government controlled areas as well as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) controlled areas. Since the late 1980s, NCA has worked primarily through local church partners, assuming a more facilitative approach in its role in development activities. However, when the situation requires, NCA has always been prepared to assume operational/implementation responsibilities, primarily when requested by partners and local civil authorities in times of emergency.

NCA's Implementing Partners in South Sudan

Magwi and Torit Counties, Eastern Equatoria Region:

NCA works closely with the Catholic Diocese of Torit (DOT) and the African Inland Church (AIC) as well as with the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA), the humanitarian wing of the SPLM. The implementation of this appeal will be undertaken by NCA through one of its partners, the Joint Relief and Rehabilitation Committee (JRRCs), a consortium consisting of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), DOT, AIC, SRRA and NCA. NCA will assume responsibilities as the lead agency in the area for this appeal, with overall management (financial accountability, reporting and monitoring) undertaken by CEAS.

Gogrial County, Bahr el Ghazal Region:

NCA works closely with the local authorities, community leaders and indigenous NGOs in Gogrial. As with the situation in Eastern Equatoria, the Joint Relief and Rehabilitation Committee (JRRCs) will be the consortium to implement the activities, with CEAS, in collaboration with NCA, assuming responsibilities as the lead agencies in this appeal.



Torit and Magwi Counties, Eastern Equatoria

Eastern Equatoria is located in the southern most part of Sudan, bordering Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the south-east and Uganda to the south. During times of war and insecurity this area is know to become unstable due to constant movement of both refugees and rebel groups across its boarders from neighbouring countries.

In recent years, Eastern Equatoria has experienced much instability due to the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel movement fighting the government of Uganda from bases in government held areas of southern Sudan. For several years the Government of Sudan has harboured the LRA in Eastern Equatoria in retaliation for Uganda's sympathetic stance towards the southern Sudan rebel movement - the SPLA. However, the LRA has since been declared a terrorist movement by the United States Government. This impelled the Government of Sudan to withdraw its support for the LRA and Uganda to reconsider its support to the SPLA.

In May of 2002, with the permission of the Government of Sudan, the Ugandan People's Defence Forces entered Eastern Equatoria in an attempt to force the LRA back into northern Uganda from their bases in southern Sudan. The consequence of the failure of this mission was increased conflict and insecurity in Eastern Equatoria when the LRA forces turned against the local communities. The LRA reportedly divided themselves into many small guerrilla-like groups and started to attack villages and communities in Eastern Equatoria (southern Sudan) using the most gruesome methods. In one of the most devastating attacks, which occurred in June 2002, the LRA forces massacred about 450 civilians at a gathering of people drawn from 33 villages. Even more appalling during this period was the butchering of about 60 civilian mourners at a funeral after they had been forced to cook and eat the carcasses of their relatives whom they were preparing to bury.

As a result of this, the survivors from these 33 villages fled with only the clothes they were wearing at the time and the displacement which had, until then, been confined to Magwi County was extended to the nearby Torit County. The largest Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, located in Torit County, now holds about 2,500 households. Meanwhile Magwi has several scattered IDP camps of smaller magnitude.

After this series of massacres, the LRA retreated to the Imatong Mountains which border Sudan and Uganda, where they took cover for several weeks. The LRA then crossed the border into Uganda, and proceeded to attack several IDP camps along the way. One camp, Achol Pii, was brutally attacked, forcing hundreds of Sudanese refugees to move northward back into Eastern Equatoria, southern Sudan with nothing but the clothes they were wearing at the time. Many of these refugees were slowly and unsystematically absorbed into the various communities in Eastern Equatoria but not without difficulties. Indeed the already severe food insecurity situation in the area deteriorated further with the resettling of the returned Sudanese refugees.

Subsequently the LRA forces having returned to Uganda, the war between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese rebel group, the SPLM, resumed. Aerial bombing persisted throughout June and up to September 2002, despite hopes for the finalising of peace negations currently underway under the auspices of IGAD in Machakos, Kenya.

Clashes in the Eastern Equatoria region reached a climax in August 2002 when the SPLA managed to regain control of Torit, a major garrison town. It has since been reported that several high-ranking officials from the Government army were killed during this offensive, which prompted the Government of Sudan to temporarily withdraw from the IGAD peace talks. The talks have since resumed. In total, an estimated 970 households were displaced when the SPLA captured the towns of Lafon, Torit and Kapoeta in the summer of 2002. Reports indicate that those who fled the fighting in Torit were continuously trickling into the IDP camps that had been set up for their assistance throughout the third quarter of 2002.

To date, an estimated 6,970 households have been displaced in Eastern Equatoria resulting from offensives of the SPLA, the Government of Sudan and the LRA forces. The figure of displaced persons is expected to rise further as long as confrontations between UPDF and the LRA continue. The local churches namely, the Catholic Diocese of Torit and the African Inland Church have worked hand in hand with NCA and CRS on the ground to support the displaced people in terms of household materials, medical assistance and moral support.

Since the beginning of 2002, NCA has distributed roughly 3,000 IDP kits, blankets, plastic sheeting and second hand clothes to IDPs in Torit County. Meanwhile CRS have provided food and supplementary feeding.

Gogrial County, Bahr el Ghazal

Military confrontations between the SPLA and the Government of Sudan in Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal have continued to intensify since April 2001. Two major towns, Raga and Alek changed hands from Government control to SPLA control and then back again to the Government within the span of 6 months. The populations of these towns all fled during the confrontations and also during the brief period of SPLA control, when the Government of Sudan subjected them to constant air raids. Some of the people who had fled from these towns did not go back even after the towns were recaptured by the Government but preferred to settle in more secure locations or with their relatives in SPLA controlled areas.

The period between January and March 2002 was relatively peaceful and this allowed the communities to prepare their fields for planting and to tend their livestock. Unfortunately, on 12 April 2002, the traditional dry season offensive, ordinarily initiated by the Government of Sudan against the SPLA held areas, began when Government troops were reported to be moving from Wau towards Gogrial. Consequently, there were intense confrontations with SPLA for the capture of Gogrial town, and after over two months of continuous fighting, the Government finally captured it.

The impact of this confrontation and the subsequent humanitarian consequences were catastrophic. An assessment conducted in July 2002 by Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) reported that there were 57,000 people displaced from Gogrial County. The displacements were rapid and disorganised. An entire population from one Payam (a group of Bomas which constitute a group of villages) were displaced because of fear of the Government’s advance into their area. Random interviews conducted by the NCA field staff indicated that the IDPs were fleeing with none of their possessions nor food or other provisions.

Another assessment conducted in August 2002 revealed that a total of about 15,000 households (about 75,000 people) are still displaced in Gogrial County. These people are scattered in various parts of Gogrial: areas which are generally considered to be relatively safe.

By August 2002, NCA had distributed 1,000 resettlement kits to IDPs from Alek who escaped westward to Mang'ok while World Food Programme (WFP) had supplied food, at half rations, to IDPs in all areas of Gogrial County that are accessible. Several families are known to return to their homes during daytime to tend to their crops and then go back to the IDP camps at night.

Over each of the last three years, NCA has responded to similar emergencies in Gogrial County through emergency preparedness programmes known by the various ACT codes AFSD84, AFSD03 and AFSD06. These programmes include the following components:

  • Emergency response, i.e. IDP kits, plastic sheeting;
  • Food security and local food production through distribution of seeds and tools and agricultural extension services, including training of farmers in ox-plough technology;
  • Primary health care - NCA supports 9 health units and one health centre in Gogrial County with emergency medicines. Immunisations are also done on an outreach basis;
  • A nutrition programme;
  • Basic education to enable children continue their learning whether displaced or not;
  • Provision of safe water - this is done in conjunction with SCF-UK.;
  • Local capacity building in each of the areas above, targeting local authorities, key community leaders and local health, education and sanitation professionals.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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