LWF South Sudan Staff flee to Adjumani, help with refugee response

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Adjumani, Uganda
22nd January 2014 by Mai Gad, DanChurchAid/Lutheran World Federation

 

The unfolding crisis in South Sudan has affected an estimated 494,000 people (UNOCHA, 19 January 2014), forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring countries such as Uganda where 50,815 people have entered. John and Peter are two of the South Sudanese refugees who escaped from their homes to seek refugee in Uganda. They were working for LWF in South Sudan. Now they support LWF’s emergency response in Uganda.

 

“I have some problems sleeping now. I know I am safe here, but still I am not sure I feel safe, I did not think I would survive,” says John. “I was running with bullets around my ears, and in between the tanks, more than 20 people in the crowd were killed. Two of them were my clan members. There were more than 25,000 soldiers… it is a miracle I survived.”

John is an LWF Education Assistant Officer in Maban County in South Sudan, but was studying in Upper Nile at the time of the war. All of a sudden, like thousands of South Sudanese, he found himself in midst of war and had to run for his life.

“I was on foot for 11 hours and slept without any food for over one week, we only drank still water. When I finally came to the border to Uganda I felt safe, I knew that the Uganda Government and organisations were there to help us,” John says.

A few days after John’s arrival in Adjumani – and much to his surprise -- he met his colleague 27-year old Peter Jok in the camp.

“I was so happy when I saw Peter. It was also at this time when I met LWF – I saw them when they were walking around in the camp and I asked them if I could help,” John says.

John is happy that he is in safety in Uganda, but he is worried about his wife and son, who remained in Bor, as they were not together when the war broke out.

“My hope is that my wife and child are safe and that I will meet them again”.

For John’s colleague, Peter Jok, the situation is different. He came to Uganda with his wife and his one and a half year old child. “I was working in LWF Maban when the war broke out, and we were evacuated by WFP and UNHAS on 24th December, they flew us to Juba, and from there I met my wife, and we travelled to Uganda,” Peter says.

“I am happy to be able to support LWF as a volunteer here. It was the Country Representative who came to see us -- he told us that LWF Uganda would be happy if we could support their work.,” he explained. Though he’s happy with his current collaboration with LWF Uganda, his ultimate goal is still to return to South Sudan. “My hope is to be able to go home one day. I know my home is demolished, but I wish to go back and return to work,” he says.

Peter and John are supporting LWF Uganda emergency response team in Adjumani by participating in the protection of refugees and providing crucial translation skills.

“I found LWF in Adjumani, I was happy to come to Uganda and find the LWF family here. We work hand in hand as a family, so I am happy to work with LWF,” Peter concludes.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:43 )  

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