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Heart-throbbing tales of Sudanese refugees in Wadwiel Settlement

By William Madouk


After escaping a devastating war through a traumatic journey for safety, Sudanese refugees still face hardship, including mounting pangs of hunger, in South Sudan.

Sheltering at Wadwiel Refugees Settlement in Aweil West County, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, the refugees lament the horrors of daily life on empty stomachs, clumsy with uncertainties of a meal.

Narrating her ordeal while shedding tears, Zainab Ali Adam, who fled from Sudan’s Nyala town, arrived in Wadwiel refugee settlement two weeks ago.

She described a horrific incident in which a mortar hit and injured her 9-year-old son and husband.

“Since Ramadan, my son and his father were wounded by a missile that cut my son’s right arm and hurt his leg,” she narrated the horrible ordeals.

The right arm of the boy was later amputated at Aweil Teaching Hospital in South Sudan.

“My son is severely injured, and I cannot manage to treat him. Now he is referred to Aweil Teaching Hospital, and his legs are paralyzed. When he treks a short distance, his leg gets numb,” she added while sobbing.

Zainab appeals to humanitarian agencies and well-wishers to help treat his son, who is in need of special healthcare.

The refugees are not only struggling with inadequate food but also dearth of healthcare for elderly people and chronic diseases.

A 28-year-old Jaber Salah-Adin Abdallah additionally notes the challenges of sanitation and hygiene in camp.

Mr. Abdallah suffers from an eye problem which he said became worse while in the settlement.

According to Abdallah in July 2023, he could see with his affected left eye, when he arrived, but now it has become dim with pain shifting to the right eye.

“When I arrived here, I could see with my left eye, but now I no longer see with it, and the pain has moved to my right eye. If the situation continues, I am afraid I will be completely blind, and this is going to be tragic for me,” he mourned.

For Mahmoud Mohammed, Chairperson in Wadwiel settlement, lack of proper shelter, schools, and medical facilities are among the multiple challenges Sudanese refugees face.

“The UNHCR has built for us shelters as best they could, but for us it is not secure, and once you leave your house, a thief can break in and steal your belongings. This has happened many times,” decried Mohammed.

Amidst the prevailing hardship, Mohammed is appreciative of the UNHCR and the host authorities for providing accommodation and security.

“We would like to thank local authorities and the South Sudan Commission for Refugee Affairs for providing us security, which is a good part of some minor theft cases,” he underscored.

However, the food ratio cut by World Food Programme, for Mohammed, is leading to malnutrition among toddlers.

“WFP used to distribute to us a food ratio of about 70%, but now it has reduced it to 50%, and this 50%, as you have seen, has caused malnutrition in children because it is not an adequate or balanced diet,” he lamented.

The chairperson of the refugees calls for revision of the programme, noting that the food cuts has led to deaths of pregnant mothers who became anemic due to inadequate feeding.

“We call on the international community and all humanitarian organizations to support us with food rations; people here are malnourished, and everybody knows we were forced out of our home by war,” he appealed.

Sighing deeply in anguish, Mohammed lamented the calamities of them leaving their homes only to meet another equaling life-threatening scenario.

“Otherwise, no one can leave his house and prosperity and come to camp to be fed!” he exclaimed.

Opportunistic of help, Mohammed pleads to international and national organizations, including the government of South Sudan, to salvage the refugees.

“In terms of security, everything is fine, but in terms of service, I can tell you, it’s only 50% now. We are facing serious problems,” he explained.

Besides, Mohammed calls for the introduction of intensive health care, adding MSF hospital only offers services to children and pregnant mothers.

Bosina Adam, is a female refugee, mounted with unbearable situations.  Atop four sick kids, she is added with responsibility of caring for unaccompanied minors who escaped without their parents nor relatives.

“We also have children who came here without parents while fleeing war. I really wanted these people to be assisted, including young people and women,” she pleas.

She cites lack of healthcare services for women and the elderly persons who are battling chronic diseases.

“We have some people with chronic diseases but have no treatment,” she explained.

Sadly, Bosina revealed that about 25 young people forced to return to border areas by perilous situation in camp were killed between El Daein and Nyala.

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