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VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
March 1, 2013
By Peter Biro
Most of the refugees from Darfur were animal herders and arrived in Bahai with their livestock. But many animals died from hunger, thirst and exhaustion.
Ten years ago, Sudanese government troops and militia groups known as Janjaweed, moved to crush rebels in Darfur, a war-wracked region in western Sudan. The rebels complained that Darfur’s black African ethnic groups had been neglected and oppressed by the Muslim central government.
|Suffering from malnutrition and sickened by contaminated water, the weakest quickly began to die in Bahai. Hadiya Beshir Issa’s 15-month old daughter Munira died a few hours after this photograph was taken.|
Photo: Peter Biro/IRC
Nothing could have prepared me for the misery I encountered in that dusty and isolated outpost on the edge of the orange-brown dunes of the Sahara. Hungry, sick and exhausted people squatted under scraggly acacia trees or thorn bushes, clutching all of their earthly belongings—usually only a bucket and a few tattered pieces of clothing. Decomposing carcasses of donkeys, camels and goats that had succumbed to hunger, thirst and exhaustion, lay where they had dropped.
Darfur Crisis Photos
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