, 07 December, 2020 / 6:00 PM
Members of the Society of Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (MMI) ministering in South Sudan’s Archdiocese of Juba are seeking partnerships in view of reaching out to those affected by flooding within Juba township.
In an interview with ACI Africa Friday, December 4, Fr. Rayappan Jayapraskash, a member of MMI at St. Francis of Assisi Parish of Juba Archdiocese said that previous and ongoing interventions have focused on flood victims out of Juba township.
“We have been trying to lobby for food items from different companies and organizations existing in Juba and CAFOD was first to help to donate food items for one village,” Fr. Rayappan told ACI Africa December 4, making reference to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
He explained, “Humanitarian responses have concentrated in the faraway areas from Juba meanwhile the nearest population affected by floods has been forgotten around Jebel Lado which is 30 km from the capital Juba.”
At least 700,000 highly vulnerable people have been displaced by the worst floods that South Sudan has reportedly experienced in 60 years, which have also destroyed crops and livestock.
Last month, Church leaders in the East-Central African nation appealed for support to rescue the people affected by floods that continue to wreak havoc in the five states of the nine-year old country.
“We the South Sudan Council of Churches leaders, working within these communities, appeal for humanitarian assistance to be expedited to communities currently without humanitarian assistance,” SSCC officials appealed in their collective letter issued November 2.
In the December 4 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Rayappan said that the flood victims “were occupying school and Church premises and now they have started settling near the roadsides using the non-food items we gave them and somewhat they are okay.”
The Indian-born Missionary Cleric highlighted items, which have been given to the flood victims saying, “In all the five villages, we are distributing milk powder from lay missionaries from Italy to rescue the situation of pregnant mothers, children and the elderly as a response to the flood coming from the Nile River.”
He added, “St. Francis of Assisi Parish and the MMI missionaries have appealed to several well-wishers since floods started in June 2020, and with the help of Red Cross, we have distributed non-food items for 1,000 families in all their five villages.”
“Red Cross gave each household 4 blankets, 4 buckets, 4 mats, 2 plastic carpets, 5 bathing soaps, 5 washing soaps, and 5 mosquito nets,” the Cleric told ACI Africa December 4.
The member of MMI acknowledged the contributions of some NGOs in helping the flood victims saying, “We got the food items from Ajai industries under Relief Line Africa because they are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of their Founder, the Birthday of their Founder.”
“In all the African countries, in which they are operating, they have been asked to distribute food to at least 1000 families; they decided to give food to the needy people in my parish, donating food for around 200 families,” Fr. Rayappan said in reference to Indian Relief Line Africa
He added, “As a flood response from us we have also done other activities like conduction of medical camps in all the five villages with the help of our DMI (Daughters of Mary Immaculate) Sisters distributing baby kits for all the breastfeeding children.”
“We conducted medical camps with the help of DMI Sisters in all the five villages and also our Indian Embassy has contributed medicine for conducting medical camps,” he said and continued, “They were diagnosing the sickness of malaria, typhoid and provide some basic medicines.”
“Our Indian Embassy in Juba has given us solar panels to give to the affected primary candidates in all the five villages,” Fr. Rayappan who is the Parish Priest of St. Francis of Assisi told ACI Africa December 4.
Officially opened in October last year, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nyuwa covers five villages consisting of mostly poor and deprived people in places such as Nyuwa, Bori, Molabor, Poitti and Kwerkek.
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa