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In a vast wetland, about 18 miles south of the contested border between Sudan and South Sudan, lies a sprawling refugee camp of those fleeing the violence in North Sudan. From the air, Yida looks almost idyllic - an African pastoral land of straw huts, lush green vegetation and hard, rust-coloured earthen patches.

Two years ago, it was a tiny village of 400 people. The bright blue walls of the old village building, the only permanent structure in the entire camp, is still visible, if you look hard enough. Today, the camp hosts more than 70,000 Sudanese and as many as 330 new refugees pour across the border into the newly independent South Sudan every day. Most refugees walked for 3-12 days to reach Yida camp. Along the way they often had no food or water and tell stories of staying alive by eating the bark and leaves of trees and drinking from swamps and puddles of muddy water. Many suffer from severe cases of diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition.

yida-refugee-camp-2

Photo credit: Paula Bronstein

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© Amusing Planet, 2013.


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