SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN: Kumke Lete, “I have seven children and they are eating nothing”
Kumke Lete with her family
DORO, 20 December 2011 (IRIN) - More than 20,000 people have fled bombs and violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile state to Doro refugee camp in South Sudan to seek food and shelter.
But after three weeks of going hungry and as about 1,000 people register at Doro each day, frail grandmother Kumke Lete says the able-bodied in her extended family have decided to make the difficult and dangerous trip back home to fetch grain from their farms to feed the increasingly malnourished children.
With little to trade at the local market as most fled with the bare minimum or did not have the energy to carry goods too far, she hopes either food arrives soon or the war will end so they can stop sleeping in the dirt with no sanitation or shelter from the cold.
“We ran from the war one month ago. Here, the problem is hunger. I have seven children and they are eating nothing, they stay hungry.
“We left our home in Jindi because of the aerial bombardment near our village - it sounded like a roar and we were very scared so we ran away.
“I brought only a few things to help us on our way, everything else we left.
“Before, we lived and cultivated our farm for ourselves. Now we are just staying here, we having nothing to do.
“Since we have been here, we have received nothing so some people decided to go back and bring as much food as they can carry.
“From here to home is four days’ walking, and we get some maize from there. We only carry a little and we are eating on the way, so very little reaches here and the children finish it very quickly.
“The mother of this young baby [pointing to an infant strapped to another woman’s back] is still on the way.
“For those who are able to go, they go. But others like me cannot go that distance.
“We are scared, but the problem is that if we stay here we will die of hunger. Some of the children have diarrhoea and fever.
“There are no people left in Jindi. The civil war ended in 2005 but that government of Khartoum, they don’t want to give us our rights. We don’t support any side in the war, we just want our rights.
“We don’t have a tent. We sleep here and use some of our mosquito net, which is also tearing, to protect ourselves.
“Since 1990, we were in Ethiopia as refugees. We came back to Blue Nile in 2006 and now we are moving again.”