MCC provides aid for returning Sudanese refugees

AKRON, Pa -- Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is providing $990,000 Cdn./$800,000 U.S. in aid to help resettle refugees who are returning to southern Sudan after a 21-year civil war.
On Jan. 9, 2005, the war ended with a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and former rebels in the south. An estimated 4 million southern Sudanese refugees live in northern Sudan or other countries and are expected to return.

The war left southern Sudan without schools, clinics, paved roads or an adequate food supply. Despite the devastation, an estimated 1,500 refugees are returning daily to southern Sudan, according to the United Nations. Aid organizations are assisting southern Sudanese communities in providing for the basic needs of returnees.

MCC is appealing for donations of 13,000 school kits by Sept. 31 for children in southern Sudan.

MCC is providing shipments of blankets, clothing, soap and school kits at a total value of $460,000 Cdn./$370,000 U.S. for distribution by Norwegian Church Aid in the Eastern Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions of southern Sudan. These supplies will be distributed to 5,000 households, or about 25,000 people.

MCC is also providing $530,000 Cdn./$430,000 U.S. to fund relief work in Bahr el Ghazal through Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan and the New Sudan Council of Churches. These organizations will distribute plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, water cans, fishing equipment and cookware to 5,500 households.

With MCC funding, the New Sudan Council of Churches will also train community leaders in peacemaking in Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria to deal with potential conflicts during resettlement.

MCC will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Sudan's Darfur region, where violence against civilians has caused the displacement of more than 2 million people and hundreds of thousands of deaths. MCC is currently planning to ship 3,000 metric tons of wheat for distribution to displaced people in Darfur.