Prayers for Refugees from South Sudan and Venezuela—027 

Join me today in prayers regarding conflict in South Sudan and the current crisis in Venezuela caused by an authoritarian government. My name is Fouad Abou-Rizk and I am a Catholic who is passionate about international crisis relief. I write Humanitarian Prayers to be an advocate & help people care.

I pray that South Sudan’s economy will not continue to be devastated by inflation, and a tiny amount of exports being sold compared to a large amount of imports being purchases.

I pray that children and youth will no longer be forcibly recruited and used as soldiers. I pray that each child who is trapped as a soldier will be freed. I pray that once freed, they will be able to return to their families and re-adjust to a regular, peaceful life.

I pray that warring factions in the country will seek peace with each other for the sake of the common person who is suffering so much. I pray that stability will return to the country to allow economic growth and a great reduction in poverty.

I pray that the 12 million people in South Sudan in need of humanitarian aid will receive the care they need to live decent and healthy lives. I pray that the 4 million displaced people will be provided with shelter and the other necessities of life.

I pray that the South Sudanese people will be able to become self-sufficient in a time of peace to no longer depend on foreign aid.

I pray that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro will be removed from power and that a strong and fair government will rule. I pray that he will no longer block foreign aid from entering the country while the common person is starving.

I pray that when he is deposed the economy will recover so that the current 80+ percent of the population will not live below the poverty line.

I pray for a great reduction in the number of preventable deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, water-borne illnesses, and especially infant and pregnancy-related deaths. I pray that hospitals and healthcare facilities will be able to receive the supplies they need to care for the sick.

I pray that the estimated 5000 people who flee the country each day will be able to be supported in neighboring Colombia and Brazil.

Notes and Explanations

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Since then it has been a hard road to normalization, with the country being in a period of civil war since 2013. The country’s economy is very poor, with over half of the population living below the poverty line. There is very little agriculture or other materials being produced within the country, causing high prices for commodities that have to be imported.

Thousands of children and youth are being used as soldiers by various factions in South Sudan’s civil war, featuring the government as well as many rebel factions.

Officials in South Sudan’s government have been accused of crimes against humanity, including rape, murder, and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Venezuela is facing one of the worst, and also least known, crises in the world. The inflation rate is expected to reach 13000% this year. In the past year, there has been a 66% increase in pregnancy-related deaths and a 30% increase in the infant mortality rate.

This crisis is caused by the extractive, autocratic, and abusive systems of President Nicolas Maduro who has been in power since 2012 refuses to step down. Since 2014, the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty has grown from less than 25% to over 60%. Healthcare is largely absent, with hospitals lacking basic supplies and medicines.

Venezuela will have new presidential elections next month. Maduro has banned three opposition parties from having candidates run against him in the 2018 elections.

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