“Their lives are in danger. (They are) dying – they may live only until July.”
Haunting words from George Tuto.
He just returned from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan besieged by the government in the north. George and his family live in Denver, Colorado now but they first fled to the U.S. as refugees in 1998.
Two years ago, President Omar al-Bashir started bombing villages in the Nuba Mountains claiming he was targeting rebels. But civilians have been caught in the crossfire. (pic – caption: families starving, living in caves in Nuba Mts.)
One year ago I witnessed firsthand the starvation, desperation. Now, George tells me there’s a flull blown famine. He and a few humanitarians from the U.S. risked their lives last month again to take sorghum, salt and medicine to the people who continue to be targets of the government in the north.
Children are dying of malnutrition. Families are living in caves in the mountains. They seek shelter there from the aerial bombardments.
Nearly 60 different tribes make up the people of the Nuba Mountains. Typically, the area is home to about 1.5 million people. But with many of them being killed from bombardments from planes sent to destroy from President Bashir’s administration and others dying of starvation, dehydration, and sickness that number is down to about 30 000.
And those 30,000 people are deplorable conditions.
Take a look at these video shot and narrated by George.
The roads are horribly bad now that the rainy season is in full swing. Monsoon like rains drench the people, wash away “roads,” any seeds that they have tried to plant for crops, and drown hopes of survival.
The Nuba Mountains are remote and nearly impossible to get to, located in central Sudan, near the disputed border of the north and South Sudan. For now, the caves are a safe place for tens of thousands of people to hide as they flee from the oppressive government in the north.
The men, women and children in the Nuba Mountains are caught in the jaws of ethnic cleansing. Genocide. The 30,000 or so remaining are the Kaonyaro and the Warni.
These are ancient tribes which are on the verge of extinction due to the genocide. They were photographed by Leni R. in the 1970’s. Their beautiful body piercing and painting jump off the pages.
I will return to the Nuba Mountains this year to continue telling their story.
But if the international community does not intervene soon these people will be wiped out by the extremist Arab Muslim government in Sudan… and all of humanity will suffer.
And while Bashir and his government pose a deadly threat, George tells me, “They’re biggest enemy is lack of food and clean water.”
Stay tuned for steps on how you can help.