Archbishop from Africa appeals for help for thousands of displaced people in South Sudan

An estimated 36,000 people have been displaced from Juba since violence erupted on July 7.Reuters

The armed conflict that has been the result of political tension in South Sudan has displaced thousands of residents, and a Roman Catholic official is desperately calling for aid to help his people stay alive.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba--the capital and largest city of South Sudan--estimated that some 36,000 people have already been driven away from their homes because of the conflict between the African nation's president, Salva Kiir, and his rebel-turned-vice-president James Wani Igga.

"In our Catholic Churches and communities we have more than 16,000 displaced people with many more in Mosques and in other faith based communities" he told Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni in an interview.

The archbishop explained that while the internally displaced residents are keeping calm inside their temporary shelters, there is a big possibility that "they are not going back home."

He added that residents like him are not sure if the cessation of hostilities recently agreed upon by the conflicting parties will hold for a long time.

"The situation is calm, but on the ground the humanitarian situation is one of misery," Archbishop Lukudu explained, saying that most residents lost all their properties when they lost their homes.

Because of this, the Roman Catholic official issued a desperate call for help, stressing that "a lot of people will die" if assistance in the form of food and other essential needs does not reach Juba and other parts of South Sudan immediately.

"If there is anyone at all that can help us, this is the moment to save lives," the archbishop said.

"I know there are many sufferings in the world but ours – in this moment – was not expected and if we can be rescued and helped, we would be very grateful, and I want to thank anybody who will do that," he added.