13 July 2016
Clashes in South Sudan force SOS children and staff to seek refuge in church
Juba, South Sudan, July 12, 2016 – Children and staff have fled the SOS Children’s Villages’ premises in Juba due to violent clashes between rival forces that killed nearly 300 people and displaced 36,000 civilians. Over 130 children and youth, along with 31 SOS staff members, have taken refuge in a local church as they wait to hear if a ceasefire declared on Monday will hold.
Dereje Wordofa, SOS Children’s Villages International Director for the Eastern and Southern Africa Region, addresses the situation in Juba with the following statement:
"We are very much relieved and grateful that they are unharmed. Our top priority now is finding ways to provide safe shelter, food, and drinking water. We are arranging ways to get money to them in order to provide the children under our care with meals and a place to stay.
We remain very much concerned due to the fragile and precarious situation. The team in Juba is assessing the risks of taking the families back to the SOS Children’s Village. We must ensure the safety and well-being of the children in the midst of the unfolding humanitarian crisis."
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been in South Sudan providing stable homes and care to orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. The SOS Village was once situated in Malakal but was later moved to Juba after clashes erupted putting the children’s lives at risk.
This is a developing story and will be updated as information is received from the SOS team in Juba.