Information from a Mercy Corps charity worker who is helping families to sustain their livelihood in Lui Diocese, South Sudan.
Food shortage is serious throughout the country: in Lui people are reduced to one meal a day rather than two or three; grains, ground nuts and beans form their diet. Due to insecurity in the area the people’s access to their farm land is restricted, especially men. Seed reserves are much lower than normal and may have to be eaten if the food situation deteriorates further. Most non-food items have been looted so there are shortages of clothes, mosquito nets, utensils etc.
Most people are not living in their usual houses and compounds, but in places where they feel safer. They remain in danger of arbitrary arrest by both the government forces and the rebels if they are suspected of being ‘enemies’. There is gender-based violence against women in some places.
Lui Hospital is working but all other health centres are closed. Similarly, schools in Lui Town are open but all village schools have been closed for four years. Movement between Lui Town and the surrounding villages remains difficult.
Bishop Stephen was able to return to Lui just before Christmas after a long absence. He is now Archbishop of Amadi, having taken over the leadership of an internal province of 4 dioceses, but remains Bishop of Lui. He confirmed that he had been hungry during his entire stay in Lui. We hope to hear more from him about what the church is doing.