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Pope's closeness to the people affected by floods in South Sudan

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Monsignor Ionut Paul Strejac, Chargé d'Affaires of the Vatican Nunciature in South Sudan, conveyed Pope Francis' closeness to the struggling nation with a gift of 30,000 US dollars for the people of the Diocese of Malakal. This comes in addition to the 75,000 US dollars already sent by the Pope last October.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis last October sent 75,000 US dollars to the people affected by floods in the Diocese of Malakal, South Sudan, through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In addition to this contribution, another 30,000 US dollars were recently sent by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities, further expressing the Pope's closeness to the people of South Sudan throughout this serious humanitarian emergency.

An aerial view shows houses submerged in flood waters in Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan
An aerial view shows houses submerged in flood waters in Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan

This closeness was concretized on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok, accompanied by the Vatican Nunciature's chargé d'affaires in South Sudan, Msgr. Ionut Paul Strejac, brought comfort through prayer and various urgently needed items to the stricken population. These included plastic sheeting, blankets, sleeping mats and tents.

Bentiu is home to the country's largest camp for displaced persons (IDPs). More than 120,000 people have found shelter in the camp, under UN auspices, since the civil war in 2013. Now,  just as many attempted to return to their lands to harvest their crops, they have been forced to stay in the camp, and in addition, 50,000 more people have arrived since August due to the floods that inundated much of Unity State. 

South Sudanese men navigate a canoe through flood waters in Bentiu in Unity State
South Sudanese men navigate a canoe through flood waters in Bentiu in Unity State

The numbers of refugees are increasing. Every day, mothers and their children continue to arrive in Bentiu, the only remaining safe area thanks to the protection provided by the dams built by UNMISS (UN Mission in South Sudan). The men are trying to keep the small number of livestock alive that have survived, while crops and food supplies have been lost.

An aerial view shows the construction of dykes which have been built around Bentiu displacement camp to protect against floodwaters in Unity State, South Sudan
An aerial view shows the construction of dykes which have been built around Bentiu displacement camp to protect against floodwaters in Unity State, South Sudan

More than a million people in the country have been affected by the floods, the majority in the Diocese of Malakal, which includes the states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jongley. 

On the morning of 8 December, celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, the Holy Father, who has these people who are victims of war and climate change close to his heart, raised his prayers to the Lord for them. 

Pope Francis prays before the statue of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Rome
Pope Francis prays before the statue of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Rome
09 December 2021, 12:25