31st March 2023
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Juba’s homeless living inside graveyard

Authors: Kafuki Jada | Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Makeshift camp for displaced and homeless persons inside abandoned cemetery at Hai Malakal residential area. | 8th August 2022. | Photo: Lou Nelson/Eye Radio.

Inside a graveyard at Hai Malakal, an area surrounded by luxurious hotels, nearly 2,000 homeless and displaced families find a challenging home.

The rectangular stone fence of the cemetery encloses an overcrowded camp of tiny makeshift huts and a church.

The burial place is divided between christian and Muslims. The side of Christians on the northern part of the cemetery is full.

However, on the southern part which is for Muslims, corpses are still being buried.

From here, cemented graves are visibly scattered around small huts, a stake reality that the living sleep over the dead.

In the makeshift camp, hundreds of out-of-school children loiter around with nothing to do.

Peter Gurak, a local chief at the camp said the displaced are in dire need of the most basic necessities including food, water, medicines, and shelters.

“We want a place and second we and the place we are taken to should have clean water the third thing is food, water and a school for the children,” said Gurak.

The vulnerable civilians urged the government to relocate them to a place where they can have access to services and be seccure.

“The other thing is for the army to protect us and this is what we have to say you know if it was not for the poor condition we would not stay in the commentary.”

“We want the government or any well-wisher who can help these poor people, let them help the displaced persons,” said the chief.

A displaced woman living inside the Hai Malakal Cemtery. | 8th August 2022. | Lou Nelson/Eye Radio.

According to the authorities, the IDPs have stayed at the graveyard for nearly 10 years, after they were by the conflicts of 2013 and 2016.

In June this year, the daily newspaper City Review reported, that the Juba City Council planned to evict over 3000 IDPs living inside the Hai Malakal Cemetery.

The City Council reportedly sent an eviction notice to the homeless, telling them to leave or be forcefully removed to de-congest the graveyards.

“Hai Malakal cemetery is full of people not less than 3,000 in number and some of them are living in the tombs. They tend not to fear the souls of the dead. So, that is something shameful and it is already in our plan. We are going to work on it,” Mayor Michael Allah-Jabu told the City Review.

“We going to remove those people but we are not going to tell you when we are going to do it because we are still planning,” he added.



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