South Sudanese Refugees: ‘No One Chooses To Suffer’

South Sudanese refugees in the northern region of Uganda, Gulu district say that the famine that was declared by the United Nations early in the month of March is changing their lives for the worst.

South Sudanese Refugees:  ‘No One Chooses To Suffer’
South Sudanese refugees in Uganda [Gurtong file photo]

Joseph Nashion

GULU, UGANDA 07 March 2017 [Gurtong]-Since the declaration of famine in most parts of South Sudan, many families are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries with hopes that the situation in the country will end and they will be able to return home one day.

According to the UN almost 3,000 South Sudanese are fleeing the famine and the violence and entering Uganda each day calling for urgent need of humanitarian assistance for the South Sudanese.

Deng Jerome a 22 year old former student of Gulu Central high school says he has not been able to continue with his studies since his mother can no longer afford to make enough money for the whole family.

Deng who sat for his Ordinary Uganda Certificate of Education, UCE in 2016 says, his mother used to send 150 dollars monthly but that has drastically reduced to just 75 dollars, a factor that has forced him to join computer studies in one of the computer training centers in Gulu instead of joining university so that his three younger siblings gets the opportunity to continue with education.

“I am now doing a short computer course to allow my young ones benefit from what mum sends to us though it is not enough we are surviving,” Deng narrates.

“No one chooses to suffer,” says Deng.

Deng who fled South Sudan in 2014 for Uganda with his father says since the famine was declared back home, they have resorted to having one meal a day. His mother works in one of the hotels in Juba and is struggling to send the little she makes to them in Uganda.

“We have at the moment dropped one meal and we are managing, we used to have two per day now things are tough and there is no promise coming from home,” says Deng.

Ater Garang, 24 years of age says he lost his mother on the 13th of March 2017 as a result of the famine.

Garang who fled to Uganda this year in February says he and his sister are now leaving at a friend’s house as they wait for their father to send them some money.

“My mother passed on. My father was working with the government but had already spent nearly five months without receiving his salary. He was not able to buy my mother food and there was no communication between the two leading to the passing away of our dear beloved mother,” he narrates as tears filled her eyes.

Ayen Manyok, 33 years old says the amount of money being sent by her husband who is currently working in South Sudan has since reduced to 100 dollars which is making it very hard for her to take care of her six children.
She can only hope that the situation in the country improves because she wants the best foro her children.
Millions in South Sudan are on the brink of famine, while close to half of the country’s population continues to struggle with conflict-induced food shortages.
Recent analysis of food security shows that for 4.1 million people in South Sudan, lack of food is at a crisis level. Displaced families have been unable to farm and feed livestock.
Food prices have risen significantly, and aid groups have been unable to deliver relief goods in remote, contested areas.
South Sudan's widespread hunger has been compounded by an economic crisis, as well. South Sudan is experiencing severe inflation, which has made food unaffordable for many families.

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