cathedral compound

Hungry, scared South Sudanese stay in cathedral compound for protection

A mother and her children ate a meal at a camp for internally displaced persons on the grounds of St. Mary Catholic Cathedral April 24 in Wau, South Sudan. Drought and armed conflict have pushed tens of thousands of Wau-area residents out of their homes, away from their farms and unable to adequately feed themselves.

WAU, South Sudan — Rita Williams slept under a tree beside St. Mary Catholic Cathedral, her three hungry children beside her. Around them, as many as 16,000 other displaced people filled the cathedral compound, hoping the church would keep them safe as their country spirals into greater violence.

"I've been here two weeks, since the soldiers chased us out of our house and burned it," she said April 26. "We have nothing, not even salt. Our clothes are dirty, and some days all we have to eat or drink is water. We're waiting. I don't know for what, but we're afraid to go back home."

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