Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Nation in Flux: IDPs and the Sudanese Referendum

January 9th voting begins. That’s in exactly one week. That means in one week this nation’s future is going to be decided. We might not know the results of these votes for months... but the whole course of this nation will have been decided.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

In anticipation of this historic event, and as a consequence as well, the leaders of Tonj have been preparing for an influx of people. People are on the move.

The referendum has Northerners fleeing south in hopes of security and a chance at a new start. Buses headed for Rumbeck (a town 5 hours south of us) passed through last week. It was quite the sight to see; buses lined the main square for blocks, loaded down with baskets and bundles.

An exodus of sorts.

Tonj is expecting 700 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the next few days. They are already en route. That’s 700 mouths to feed and bodies to bed. The town leaders have been preparing schools and fixing outdated wells. They have begun discussing latrines and water rights in anticipation of the chaos. Much has to be sorted before they arrive.

I’m told they will be supported and housed for 3 months by the Southern Sudanese Government. During that time, they will be required to reconnect with relatives and/or find lodging and land. Then they are on their own.

Change is coming and with it potential-- Potential laced with a hint of fear and a lot of the unknown. Pray for this nation. Pray that God’s perfect will would be done among the leaders and in this nation. Thanks.