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South Sudanese refugees protest dire hunger in Ethiopia

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: February 23, 2024

South Sudanese refugees in Kumar camp. (Video-captured photo/Courtesy).

Hundreds of South Sudanese refugees have taken to the streets in Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar region to complain about a humanitarian neglect that has induced starvation and suffering for them in the country.

The over 500 South Sudanese refugees fled to Kumar of Bahir Dar region following the outbreak of the Sudan war in April 2023.

In June 2023, the United Nations World Food Program temporarily suspended food assistance to Ethiopia over “unacceptable” theft of aid deliveries by armed elements.

The decision has since put more than 20 million people in Ethiopia at risk of starvation as conflicts, drought and compounding humanitarian crisis plagued the country.

Yuhania Gabriel, the chairman of Kumar refugees’ settlement said his fellow refugees are suffering from starvation, lack of proper hygiene, health services and security.

Speaking to demonstrators, Mr. Gabriel said it is necessary for the refugees to voice out the humanitarian situation, after the refugees stayed without relief food for months, leaving many at the mercy of death by starvation.

“We don’t have food to eat, and in addition to that, water is not there, and if we don’t meet and agree as one voice of refugees to the United Nations in Kumar camp, we will be considered as a human being,” he told the refugees.

“I am appealing to you the United Nations to provide us with food and drugs or we need to get out of here, because here we are not ok, there’s no security and health and after all this there’s hunger.”

“Let’s be one group with one voice and we are demanding for our rights peacefully and nobody should get out from what we are doing in an organized way.”

Another refugee, who did not provide his names, said the demonstration seeks to highlight the suffering of the stranded refugees languishing in Ethiopian camps.

“This is one of the strikes, which is the happening today to show how the people are suffering in Kumar refugee camp here,” he said.

“We pray to God for everything. And we need the help from World Food Organization. You see how the place is very dirty. So, look at this side. This is garbage. And this garbage.”

“There is no one collecting them. And we hope our voice can go all over the world. There is no food, and we have children, we have elderly people. So, everything is not working here in Kumar refugee’s camp.”



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