OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - “Australia can do more for Sudan” says Sudanese Bishop Tombura-Yambio on a visit to Australia, where the Sudanese community is growing rapidly

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Adelaide (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio in Southern Sudan, Bishop Joseph Abangite Gasi, recently visited Adelaide to thank the Australians for their humanitarian aid. On his first visit to Australia, the Bishop expressed deep gratitude for assistance given to refugees, but he said “Australians can do more”. According to the Southern Cross Catholic newspaper in South Africa, the Bishop said there is need of Australian Catholics in Sudan to teach the people, devastated by more than 20 years of war and famine, to acquire new resources and skills. His gratitude was accompanied by a request for more help from countries where material wellbeing has reached levels unimaginable for his people.
Visiting Australia, the Bishop saw the asphalt roads, street lights everywhere, while his people have no electricity or clean water, not to mention roads. He asked for volunteers to come to his diocese because he fears that when the money arrives it may fall into the wrong hands. The Bishop said frankly: “what we need is moral support to go ahead with the process of peace and reconciliation, to remember all that has happened so it may never happen again”.
During his visit Bishop Gasi met members of the flourishing Sudanese community in Adelaide and celebrated Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral. He spoke of the improved situation in Sudan. There are still small tribal clashes but the Churches and the government are working hard to prevent conflicts. The Sudanese community in Australia is the most rapidly growing ethnic group at the national level. In the last decade over 14,000 Sudanese have been granted entry permits to Australia for humanitarian reasons, two thirds of these since 2005. (K.P.) (Agenzia Fides 4/7/2007; righe 23, parole 319)