July 13, 2016

1,500 Flee to Adventist Compound Amid Fighting in South Sudan

This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the number of people seeking refuge on the Adventist compound has grown to 5,000 Read here.

About 1,500 people have fled to the compound where the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA have their main offices in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to escape renewed violence.

Hundreds of people have been killed since rival soldiers began  fighting in the African city last Thursday. South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, called for a cease-fire on Monday, but many people have stayed away from their homes as they waited to see whether it would hold.

ADRA said most of the internally displaced people at the Adventist compound were women, children, and elderly from the surrounding community.

“The church building, school classrooms, and even covered verandas are full to capacity, and heavy rains have added further concerns,” ADRA said in a statement. “But continued violence means a likely increase in the number of people seeking safety.”

ADRA was working to provide emergency food, shelter, and water, while addressing the sanitation and hygienic needs of the internally displaced people on the compound.

Amid the clashes, about 7,000 residents fled to United Nations protection sites, while thousands of others sought refuge in churches and schools, news reports said. 

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of its independence from neighboring Sudan over the weekend, has experienced much violence in its short history.

“There is also a widespread food shortage this year, with some areas of South Sudan reportedly on the edge of famine,” ADRA said.

Read how a visiting Adventist Church employee gave a GLOW tract to armed men who detained her in South Sudan earlier this year

Community members arriving at the Adventist compound in Juba, South Sudan, seeking safety from renewed violence.