A personal reflection from Andrew Horton, who visited South Sudan in March 2017.
She stopped and looked away from the translator – she didn’t want to tell him how hunger was destroying her life. She wanted to tell me.
I like to think I’m a pretty hardened interviewer. But when a woman who has barely anything to eat looks you in the eye and shows you how little flesh she has on her arms, it’s difficult not to be taken aback.
There was no longer a language barrier. I had to pause the interview and gather myself. Mary wanted my attention, and I know why.
A bitter crisis
Millions of people in South Sudan are caught up in a humanitarian crisis, instigated by a bitter conflict which began on 15 December 2013.
Five years later the numbers tell a tragic story:
• More than 6 million people are struggling to find enough food.
• 1.91 million people have fled their homes to live in other parts of the country.
• More than 2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, and Uganda has over 1 million South Sudanese refugees.
• 383,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict and a huge number of women subjected to rape.
• South Sudan remains the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers, with 113 having been killed during the conflict.