Life (and death) in refugee camps

Behind the wheel – An occasional series by Michael de Laine

Do Mr and Mrs Average really know what life is like in refugee camps – in terms of accommodation, food, work, learning, the effects of weather and the impact of armed conflicts?

And why people flee their homes to find a refugee camp in another country, when that country itself has problems similar to those they fled from?

My daughter, who came home in March after 18 months in South Sudan for first the Danish Refugee Council and then Save the Children – Denmark, has sent me this recent video and website link – http://en.jrs.net/campaign_detail?TN=PROJECT-20150728055930 – to work done by the Jesuit Refugee Service, in particular at Maban in northern South Sudan, close to the border with Sudan.

Here, refugees from Sudan make up more than two-thirds of the local population. The refugee camps at Maban are home to about 130,000 people.

In comparison, some 107,000 refugees have landed on the shores of Greece already this year, which no-one denies has great economic problems and which great problems dealing with these refugees.

South Sudan is in a far worse economic situation than Greece. The work there of aid organisations includes education and child protection, but it is hampered by the weather and recurrent armed conflicts, both resulting in breakdowns in food supplies and transport.

These refugees are alive – to understand a little of what some go through and die doing, read: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/boys-who-could-see-england.

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