Escalating violence in South Sudan forces LWF to evacuate staff from Juba

An LWF staff member speaks to children as they line up before class at a school in the Ajuong Thok refugee camp in South Sudan. Rising levels of violence this week have forced the LWF to evacuate staff from the capital. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey
An LWF staff member speaks to children as they line up before class at a school in the Ajuong Thok refugee camp in South Sudan. Rising levels of violence this week have forced the LWF to evacuate staff from the capital. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey

Staff sent home, to safe locations or to Nairobi

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has expressed its concern over renewed conflict and escalating violence in South Sudan. Violence broke out at the end of last week, especially in and around the capital, Juba. A ceasefire between the two conflicting parties, agreed since Monday, 11 July, so far, remains in place.

Addressing the situation in Juba, the acting director and global program coordinator of the LWF Department for World Service (DWS) John Damerell said that LWF activities in Juba had been severely hampered with staff sent home or forced to hibernate in safe locations. On Wednesday of this week, four international staff were evacuated from Juba to Nairobi.

“This outbreak of violence is again a big tragedy and we are very concerned about its impact on the local population who are the victims of this conflict,” said Damerell, adding “we are also concerned about the impact of continued violence on the work of those organizations providing necessary emergency assistance to South Sudanese communities and refugees.” He said that LWF is closely monitoring the situation, assessing when normal operations can resume.

LWF programs in Jonglei, Maban and Ajuong Thok are not currently directly affected, but tension in these areas is increasing. Therefore LWF has taken additional security measures to remain alert and prepared should the situation deteriorate there too. For now management of the office in Juba and the general management of LWF South Sudan operations has been temporarily relocated to Nairobi.

This outbreak of violence is again a big tragedy and we are very concerned about its impact on the local population who are the victims of this conflict and the impact of continued violence on the work of those organizations providing necessary emergency assistance to South Sudanese communities and refugees.
John Damerell, Acting director and global program coordinator of the LWF Department for World Service

Assisting more than 260,000 people

In 2015 the LWF assisted more than 260,000 people affected by the conflict in South Sudan, both within the country and in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The LWF implements programs through four field locations in South Sudan: Juba, Jonglei, Maban and Ajuong Thok. The interventions focus on providing water, sanitation, education, protection and psychosocial support.

Damerell reiterated LWF’s previous appeals to parties involved in the South Sudan conflict “to put an end to the fighting, and consolidate their efforts in building peaceful co-existence in this young nation.”

 

LWF in South Sudan