A priest in Sudan says many internally displaced people (IDPs) have strengthened their relationship with God, despite suffering the devastating consequences of the country’s civil war.

Father Jacob Thelekkadan is helping local Salesian Sisters care for about 80 IDPs sheltering at the Sisters’ Dar Mariam residence in Shajara, four miles outside Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.

He told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the area has been ravaged by a “tragic and unfortunate war” which has led to “massive displacement of people, heavy casualties, pitiable and unimaginable destruction”.

Father Thelekkadan, director of St Joseph’s Vocational Training Centre in Khartoum said that the fighting has caused “psychological and physical trauma”, as well as “fear, hunger, thirst, loneliness and sickness in the hearts and lives of people” in the region.

The Indian-born Salesian priest added that everyone is “malnourished and weak”, especially the children, but he and the Sisters are doing their best to provide food even though it is scarce.

He explained: “Our daily food is porridge made from flour or lentils, or kisra, a kind of pancake made of shorghum [a grain local to the region], without the availability of any vegetables, including onions and potatoes, without any type of fruit, without meat or eggs.”

The priest said it is increasingly difficult to obtain fuel for the generator which is essential for providing electricity and operating the water pump.

He added that although temperatures can exceed 110°F (43°C), they only have access to water for two hours a day.

He highlighted that Dar Mariam has often been caught in the crossfire, and bombs have exploded in the building on at least three occasions, destroying rooms and wounding people inside.

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