By Matt Morrison
For the past 2-3 years, it’s been one of the biggest international news stories. Before that, it was a growing tumor quickly overtaking significant parts of the globe. The refugee situation today has become the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, displacing more people than any other time in human history.
To most people, the refugee crisis is synonymous with the Syrian civil war, which has displaced over half of its country’s population. But while many Syrians have fled their homeland, the refugees pouring into Europe by boat, train, and foot are coming from all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. They’re fleeing situations in Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan just to name a few.
But there’s another refugee crisis happening right now too and it’s radically different than the one we hear about every night on the news. Rather than coming from the Middle East, it involves millions of people heading for the borders of South Sudan.
THE WORLD’S YOUNGEST COUNTRY
The world’s youngest country, South Sudan only received independence in 2011 following years of war and internal struggles. But while its formation was a moment of celebration for many, the honeymoon didn’t last long. In nine of its ten states, the government is battling seven or more militant groups. This includes the feared Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Since 2013, South Sudan has been in all-out civil war. The results have been brutal. The child marriage rate now exceeds 52%. Institutionalized rape by the army is rampant and over 300,000 are officially dead.
Of its 12 million citizens, over three million have been displaced. Two million have settled in other parts of the country while the rest have fled into Kenya, Sudan, or Uganda. And while the crises in other parts of the world choke South Sudan out of the news, the situation has resulted in the fastest growing refugee population today.
MEETING THEM IN UGANDA
In Uganda, the United Nations and several NGOs have now set up refugee camps along the border. Over 600,000 South Sudanese refugees have settled in the area, many of them suffering from severe trauma and heartbreaking tragedy.
While South Sudan is considered one of the most dangerous regions for Christian workers, e3 Partners is now serving the people in their new host countries. In Uganda, multiple trips are planned throughout this year to serve the people, both sharing and demonstrating the love of Christ along the way.