Monday, August 22, 2016


"A portrait of turmoil in South Sudan, from behind the lens" PBS NewsHour 8/19/2016


SUMMARY:  South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is again on the brink of a civil war.  Photographer Sebastian Rich has covered the conflict in the country for more than four decades, and he is there now on a mission with UNICEF, documenting the turmoil and the toll it has taken on civilians.  The area is plagued by malnutrition and the lowest education levels in the world.  John Yang speaks with Rich.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The world’s newest country, South Sudan, established in 2011, again stands on the brink of civil war.  A peace deal signed last year between rival governing factions is in tatters.  More than one-sixth of the country’s 12 million citizens have been displaced, and the humanitarian crisis there is worsening by the day.

John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  For that view, we turn to photographer Sebastian Rich, who has covered conflict zones for more than four decades.  He has been to South Sudan many times.  He is there now on assignment for UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency.

He joins us now via Skype from Juba, the capital.

Sebastian, thanks for joining thus evening.

First of all, tell us how it feels now, what the situation is like on the ground now.

SEBASTIAN RICH, Photojournalist:  Well, the situation is a little more tense than it was, obviously, before the recent fighting.

The recent fighting has put the people, the ordinary people in the street.  They’re much more tense than they were.  There’s not so many friendly faces.  If you walk in the streets of Juba now, you’re not greeted the same way you were a couple of months ago or even a year ago, when I came last year.

JOHN YANG:  And how is this affecting the children that you’re covering, that you’re there watching, looking at behalf on UNICEF, particularly the issues of malnutrition?

SEBASTIAN RICH:  Well, it’s affecting the children very badly.

And there’s 250,000, a quarter-of-a-million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.  And that’s not including the children who just got malnutrition, the first stages of.

So, what’s happened is that the children who were actually starting to recover from severe acute malnutrition before this recent fighting, when the fighting happened, those children couldn’t come back to the hospitals to get their follow-up treatment and children that had started to get malnutrition couldn’t get to the hospitals either.

So now we have this huge increase in malnutrition and severe cases of malnutrition.  And UNICEF is trying its very, very best to keep on top of this disaster.

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