Sudan (MNN) ¯ The Sudans are teetering on the edge of war.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Juba, South Sudan's capital, Friday, expressing U.S. concern over the bitter dispute between Juba and Khartoum (Sudan's capital).
The UN Security Council gave the two countries until August 2 to reach a deal or face sanctions. Matt Parker with http://www.mnnonline.org/groups/KAI - Kids Alive International says, "That deadline has now passed; there has been no resolution. The talks have stalled."
The main points of discord involve insecure borders and oil. The refineries are in the South, but the pipelines run to the North. Where there's oil, there's money, and the two countries are fighting over territory and oil rights. "Oil is really the lifeline of both economies. As a result of the conflict, a lot of the oil production has been stopped, and that's having a devastating effect. "
Parker goes on to make note of another matter behind the conflict. "One of the key issues has been citizenship. People who've lived in Sudan all their lives lost their citizenship. They've had to take up South Sudan citizenship, and there's been a question mark over the past few months over what will happen."
July 9 was the one-year anniversary of South Sudan becoming its own nation, yet little else but conflict has welcomed the fledgling state. The uncertainty, fueled by angry disillusionment, has led to protests.
The crisis is exploding as the rainy season descends fully upon this area, and humanitarian resources are overwhelmed. The situation is complicated by Khartoum's continued denial of humanitarian access to rebel-controlled areas within its border.
They're still bombarding some of those areas into submission and, in the process, creating a steady stream of thousands of refugees every day. Non-Government Organizations say those fleeing are driven by desperate hunger, a lack of water, and air attacks. The situation is so fluid that it's hard to get a precise count of refugees, but estimates are around 300,000 in the camps, with up to 4,000 more coming daily.
Things are getting difficult for Kids Alive in Sudan. Parker explains, "Obviously, as a Christian organization, it is increasingly difficult to work in Khartoum because of the Islamic government. But we continue to be committed to that for as long as we're able to be there."
Disruption to the work of Kids Alive is inevitable with an influx of refugees that size. While they're committed to their work in both Sudan and South Sudan, some things have been put on the back burner. "We would have liked to have [proceeded] with the construction of a new children's home. That is our plan down in south Sudan, but we've had to delay that a little bit because of the current situation," says Parker. "We're monitoring things very closely. Obviously, our primary concern is the safety of our children and our staff."
The Boys Hope Center in Khartoum serves children in need through several programs. The Children's Home is located on the edge of Khartoum and consists of several homes for over forty orphaned children who previously had been living on the streets.
Meanwhile in South Sudan, the Outreach Center provides a safe place for street children to receive a meal and take a shower. Often these are orphaned refugees fleeing from war-torn and drought-ridden regions. While at the center, the children take part in Bible studies, crafts, and other activities to enrich their lives.
As more refugees return to their homes in Southern Sudan, the problem of homeless children in Wau becomes greater. The returnees find a devastated land without good roads, hospitals, schools, or jobs. This poverty leaves many parents unable to provide for their children, leaving them to wander the streets.
This ministry in southern Sudan consists of a Care Center serving about 40 street children and a Children's Home for the most vulnerable children. With such a need in this area, there are plans to grow this critical ministry.
Parker says they're monitoring the situation carefully. The Gospel was the first introduction to hope for these kids. "We are committed, obviously, to meeting children's physical needs and providing them with an education. But as an organization, we are committed to sharing with these children the love of Christ."
No new talks are scheduled. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir last week turned down a last-minute summit with his counterpart from South Sudan. Parker says, "Pray for a resolution to the current situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Pray that those differences would be resolved and that there would be peace in both countries."
Check our Featured Links section for ways to help Kids Alive International in Sudan.
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