Pope Francis summons prayer for situation in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo
On Thursday, November 23 at 5:30 p.m. local time, Pope Francis will preside over a liturgical celebration in St. Peter's Basilica to pray for peace in two of the most afflicted countries in the world: South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The pope tried to travel to both countries and was unable, but he is following their developments very closely.
Up to seven million people are malnourished in South Sudan, and a quarter of its inhabitants have had to leave their homes. The civil war there has been happening for four years and doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.
South Sudan is also one of the countries where being a mother means facing death. It has the world's fifth-highest maternal mortality rate. Only 44 percent of pregnant women have access to medical attention.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a battleground. Political instability has engulfed the country in chaos despite being one of the richest areas in minerals.
Conflicts between the military, jihadist groups and sects – fueled by corruption – have led to mass burials and refugees. Millions of them. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the highest number of internally displaced people, nearly four million, in the whole continent. In addition, its borders receive 500,000 displaced from other countries.