CWS Emergency Appeal: Sudan/Returnee Assistance

Situation Report
Originally published
Appeal Number: #640-T
Appeal Amount: $500,000

SITUATION: There are some 4 million internally displaced persons in Sudan; more than 3 million of them are southern Sudanese living in northern Sudan. Most of them live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) -- many in camps on the peripheries of the cities of Khartoum and Omdurman. There are also some 500,000 southern Sudanese refugees in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, the Central Africa Republic and Eritrea.

With the January signing of a comprehensive peace agreement that ended a 21-year-long war in southern Sudan, the United Nations estimates that "spontaneous" returnees are traveling back to their homes in the south at the rate of 1,500 per day. The situation for returnees is extremely difficult, as organized returns by respective governmental authorities, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations have not yet begun. As a result, returnees thus find themselves in a precarious situation, with no alternative but to hope that assistance will come from somewhere.

Spontaneous returnees, most of whom are returning without means of support, will place additional demands on the fragile local food supplies due to erratic rains in 2004 and the few amenities in healthcare, schools and clean drinking water points. Quite a number have turned up at the doors of churches seeking support for food, clothing, medicine and shelter.

RESPONSE: Church World Service is responding to this humanitarian situation in a number of ways.

CWS staff will soon be in Sudan to explore a possible program of assistance to planned returnees in southern Sudan, with a focus on rehabilitating three refugee centers in Western Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Upper Nile provinces in preparation for refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) returns.

Such a program would be conducted in partnership with the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), Churches Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS) and CWS/East Africa and would include a component of Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) seminars.

In addition to those efforts, CWS is issuing this appeal to support efforts of several partners in Sudan, including Churches Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS) and Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Agency (ERRADA), a division of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC). These partners are coordinating project activities in southern Sudan in areas where "spontaneous" returnees are already beginning to return.

This appeal is not in response to the humanitarian situation in Darfur, in western Sudan.

CEAS (Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan) 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. CEAS has a considerable amount of experience and expertise in relief and emergency response gained through implementation of similar projects in the regions of the Southern Blue Nile, Western Equatoria, Bor County in Upper Nile and Northern Bhar el Gahzal.

CEAS is targeting up to 20,000 households, or a total of 100,000 persons, and will work toward providing post-war reconstruction and peace-building activities. Assistance will include essential non-food items and agricultural seeds and tools in areas of CEAS and partners' operations -- specifically to support the communities of the Southern Blue Nile/Funj region and Maban County, northern Upper Nile in efforts to provide health, basic agriculture, education, water and sanitation assistance. This will include 20,000 kits containing household items and mosquito nets, as well as 20,000 seeds and tools kits.

Budget includes $3.5 million in direct assistance; that includes $1.05 million in non-food items, including $189,474 for plastic sheeting; $197,368 for blankets; $198,158 in mosquito netting.

ERRADA (Ecumenical Relief Rehabilitation and Development Agency)/ Sudan Council of Churches: ERRADA is the relief and development agency of the SCC and serves more than 1.8 million displaced persons from southern and western Sudan. The SCC/ERRDA has regional offices in the government-controlled areas of Juba, Wau, Malakal and Kostier south.

ERRADA's response focuses on providing non-food items for the survival and protection of the IDPs and refugees, as well strengthening livelihood options, including fishing. Also planned: providing health services to returnees and residents.

These efforts are targeted at 7,500 persons. Each family will receive a sleeping mat, plastic sheet and tray; two blankets, mosquito nets and cooking pots; four plates; five pieces of washing and toilet soap each. Fishing equipment will also be provided to some beneficiaries.

Budget includes $651,000 in direct, non-food relief assistance. That includes $90,000 for blankets; $60,000 for mosquito nets; $135,000 for plastic sheeting.

Contributions to support CWS Sudan returnee efforts can be sent to your denomination or directly to:

Church World Service
Sudan/Returnee Assistance #640-T
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515

Contributions may also be made by credit card by calling: (800) 297-1516, ext. 222, or online at

Please contact the CWS Emergency Response Program if you would like a more detailed appeal description.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.