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Sudan

Sudan; death comes as the end; no help for countless thousands who have fled a devastating combination of civil war, famine and floods. (1988, September 16). The Weekly Review, p. 41. Child deaths hit Sudan town. (1988, October 16). Nation, Khartoum.

OVERVIEW

Three naked, skeletal bodies of teenagers confront readers in this story deep within The Weekly Review. Some readers may not have gotten that far back in the magazine; others may be too tired or repulsed to continue reading. Discover the atrocities:

 

In a tent for the dying, Majok Akec, a blind orphan in his early teens, crouches on the ground, resting his head on his knees. Majok, his severe malnutrition aggravated by dysentery, can barely lift an arm to shoo away flies covering most of his face. Thin beyond belief, he has little hair left. His teeth protrude from his gums and he has a large patch of inflamed skin on his back. Sitting motionless next to him in the tent for the dying are fellow Dinka tribesmen, oblivious to journalists visiting the refugee camp in the remote Sudanese town of Al-Muglad, 750 km southwest of Khartoum.

Majok is alive, though still motionless, when the reporters return to the camp hours later. No one can say for how long. Fifty-two people died of hunger in the camp in July, 22 in August and nearly 45 in the first week of September, according to Concern. The suffering is magnified at a camp in Al-Mairam, 95 km to the south, where at least 40 southern refugees are dying of hunger every day. More than 3,000 have died at Am-Mairam camp in the past three months, according to relief workers there. For nearly a week, an average of 100 destitutes a day arrived at (another camp) Al-Muglad. They trekked north for up to a month from Bahr Al-Ghazal and more recently from Upper Nile, surviving on grass and leaves along the way. Many die soon after arrival.

 

Widespread famine has been reported in southern towns inaccessible because of rains and fighting between government troops and rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA). Nearly 10,000 people were said to be on the verge of starvation in the town of Torit. A Khartoum newspaper said early last week that 8,000 had starved to death in the town of Aweil in Bahr Al-Ghazal.

Found in Nation are equally horrifying stories:

 

All children under five have died in a refugee-packed Sudanese town where the United States has begun an airlift of food and medicine, relief workers said.

The first mercy flights were shuttling into Abyei in southern Kordofan Province where relief agencies said a generation has been wiped out by starvation and malnutrition.

Abyei’s population has swelled to around 100,000 with the arrival of 25,000 refugees from the Dinka tribe fleeing the surrounding bush to escape harassment by Arab militiamen, flood and famine exacerbated by five years of civil war. But the situation in the town is little better.

 

IMPLICATIONS

  1. Relief agencies and governments continue to fund relief but many world citizens are turning away from Sudan’s plight for several reasons:
    • The media aroused tremendous sympathy several years ago and many, who gave in response to sensationalistic pictures and reports, are numb to future appeals.
    • Public concern tends to follow fads.
    • Many blame an Islamic government enforcing Muslim law and the Civil War—feeling that Sudan somehow deserves its fate—or at least shouldn’t be "bailed out."
  2. There is pressure on Khartoum to follow Islamic law and tradition. There does not seem to be enough pressure from Sudan’s African neighbors, the United Nations and the world to heal the breach with Southern Africans.
Dean Borgman cCYS