|This morning Father Mike Bassano (mm) and I are scheduled to leave for Malakal, a city in the state of Upper Nile, South Sudan, which has been plagued by ethnic violence and flooding, causing the displacement of almost 40,000 people from their homes. Those people are now classified as “Internally Displaced Persons” (IDP’s) and are living, as noted above, in a camp which is under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Father Mike has been living at this camp and ministering to the people displaced there for the past seven years.
Emanuel took us to the Juba airport where we checked in for our flight to Malakal, which was operated by another UN agency, the World Food Program (WFP) and their “Humanitarian Air Service” (UNHAS).
As we made our way north, our flight followed the Nile River and I was able to see, from the window of the plane, small settlements along the river: a gathering of small homes made from home-made bricks with thatched roofs, or small structures made out of corrugated tin. There was plenty of wide open land, too, flat and arid.
After a stop in route at Maban, we arrived at the Malakal Airport and were greeted by United Nations personnel who drove us back to the camp. It was clear, from the views from the car, that this area was in what had been a war zone. The airport, along with virtually every other building we saw, had been heavily damaged by gunfire, and then subsequently looted of everything of value in or on the building: roofs, windows, interior furnishings, etc.
We finally arrived at the UNHCR camp. The camp is made up, actually, of three sections: the Protection of Civilians (POC) Camp itself, where the people are living; the “Humanitarian Hub” from which the various NGO’s (Non-governmental organizations, such as “Doctors Without Borders”, are operating), and the UN compound itself, where the UN employees and some other associates live and work. After settling into my accommodation for the next five days, Father Mike and I walked the short distance to the POC.
7 Feb 2022
Fr. David, Mission Promoter
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