After the escalation of violence that swept over South Sudan, the parish of St. Vincent de Paul opened its doors and promptly welcomed fleeing families, offering them a safe place to settle. Today, during the coronavirus emergency, thanks to funding from "Salesian Missions", the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, 275 families have received assistance. Specifically, each person received 10 kg of ground flour, 1 kg of salt, 1 liter of cooking oil and 5 kg of beans per month.
"We are truly grateful to all our donors, who help the Salesian missionaries in Gumbo to take care of the most vulnerable, through donations of food and supplies they need," said Fr Gus Baek, Head of the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle. "Salesian missionaries have also distributed soap and installed hand-washing stations throughout the camp and they also measure their temperature at the entrance to the camp, as well as carry out a weekly awareness program to avoid the spread of the coronavirus," he added.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but faced a civil war, which began in December 2013, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Responding to civil war is nothing new for Salesian missionaries, who are dedicated to numerous programs throughout the country.
South Sudan is a largely rural country. 80% of the population live in poverty with a daily income estimated to be under one dollar, according to the World Bank, and more than a third of the population does not have access to food.