While the summer heats up most of the U.S. the rainy season is in full swing in South Sudan and Sudan. I have just returned from my fifth trip to the region. There is excitement for the fledgling new country, South Sudan, but there is also tension, struggle and even violence in the area. This challenging trip in June focused on the bombings and starvation of the people in the Nuba Mountains. The Nuba Mountains are in South Kordofan, Sudan.
I have been a TV journalist for a little more than 20 years and what I have learned, among many other things is that Americans, the West in general, have short term memories and short attention spans.
What many of you will remember is the president of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, was charged with war crimes in 2010 over the conflict in Darfur, becoming the first sitting head of state issued with an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
What I observed recently and documented on video in the Nuba Mountains is eerily similar to what occurred in Darfur.
Bashir’s government in Sudan is bombing the Nuba Mountain people, forcing them to hide in caves and foxholes. And he’s kicked out most NGO and humanitarian groups effectively starving the Nuba people. I saw hundreds of people, families with babies, walking hundreds of miles to Yida, a refugee camp set up in Unity State, South Sudan. There, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees is tending to the critical and dire needs of tens of thousands of Nuba people. The day I arrived there in early June, 1,250 people arrived as well. More than 55,000 had made their way to Yida by then and that number is expected to continue to grow in the coming days, weeks and months as thousands flee to safety.
I also videoed several babies and small children on death’s door suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea and old women drinking water from mud puddles.
My blogs on CPT12 will go in to more depth on this story. And in the fall when STUDIO 12 resumes, I’ll have a live guest panel, video and more information on this, one of the world’s humanitarian disasters.