Conflict has broken out in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and hundreds of civilians have been caught up in the violence. Families are running out of food, water and medicine as the violence continues, and some people have risked fleeing their homes and becoming refugees to escape the fighting. CAFOD’s Head of Africa, Kayode Akintola, has updated us on the current situation and what you can do to help ……
Have you visited Sudan recently?
I visited in February. It’s less than 60 days from now that I got back from Sudan. And I can tell you, during my visit, I saw a very amazing set of people, people who just want a good life, people who just want a better society in which to live.
I was very struck by the level of commonality and communal living in Sudan. And so it’s very shocking, the last few days. For some of the places that I have driven through or visited recently to have seen destruction and people not being able to go about their normal life.
What work do CAFOD supporters help to fund in Sudan?
CAFOD has been working in Sudan since the 1970s, and we support agriculture production, but also livelihood opportunities, particularly for smallholder farmers and women.
Sudan is also host to people who are looking for safety and has got at least 20 refugee camps. We deliver clean water and sanitation in those camps. Some of these refugees have fled from neighbouring countries because of the effects of climate change, and many are fleeing fighting.
Now, sadly, Sudan is itself now in deep conflict as well. We have an office in Khartoum, and I am grateful to God that our staff and partners are safe at the moment.
What can we do to help with the Sudan conflict here in the UK?
Two things for now, are very immediate. Please pray for Sudan. Please pray for the people of Sudan, pray for the peace of Sudan. That would be my very first, my very first appeal.
The second one is please speak to your MPs. Ask the government to act now.
This is the time to actually make every effort to save every life because every life counts.
What is next for your work in Sudan?
At the moment, it’s about looking for safety for everyone, but if humanitarian passage is negotiated, we definitely will be looking at how we respond to the ongoing crisis that will be the result of this conflict.
Sudan is really facing severe economic, security and humanitarian challenges. And I think this current conflict can only make matters worse.
Before this fighting, there were problems with inflation, but people were really looking forward to democratic government as a hope to begin to transition to a more prosperous and viable nation. That agenda has been set back again.
What gives you hope?
Even in the midst of all these killings, there have been efforts by people within communities to try to reach out to one another. People are sharing food supplies. People are wanting to share what they have, and that is the reality of how people in Sudan want to live.
People are looking forward to having a democratic government, so communities can really thrive. And people can really go about their life, without fear and in an atmosphere of peace, without conflict.
CAFOD is an international development charity who reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and part of Caritas International.
Through our global Church network, one of the largest in the world, we have the potential to reach everyone. And we campaign for global justice, so that every woman, man and child can live a full and dignified life.
To find out more about how you can help CAFOD’s work in Sudan, please go to: