MESSAGES of hope will go out from Ballarat to South Sudan on Friday, as the Anglican Cathedral holds an evening of prayer for the war-torn country.
Father Peter Kunen, whose mother and brothers are still in South Sudan, said everyone was welcome to come and show support for South Sudan, regardless of faith or denomination.
“Fifty thousand people have been killed, and 1.5 million displaced, this war has had a terrible impact on South Sudanese people, and their relatives and friends abroad,” Father Kunen said.
He said there were food shortages all over the country, and a lack of humanitarian assistance.
War erupted in December last year, when the rift between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar led to ethnic violence breaking out.
A ceasefire signed in May paused fighting for a few days, and Unicef raised concerns of child soldiers being recruited, especially in Father Kunen’s home province of Upper Nile.
Rebecca Gatweck said there was always uncertainty about relatives still in the three-year-old country.
“No one knows your family is safe until they contact you. They could be in refugee camps or anything,” Ms Gatweck said.
She said her cousin and his wife recently had a baby, and he had to cycle to another village to call for help.
“He left her in a village, just to go and find help.”
The evening of prayer will be held at the Lydiard Street South cathedral at 7pm.