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+45*C...no water...no food...on foot for months to escape from attacks and war, to save ones life.
From South Sudan across the border to Ethiopia, to a UNHCR - United Nations refugee camp.

These pictures were taken 1986/87 in western part of Ethiopia on the Sudanese border. Near the small "town" Gambella UN had established its largest refugee camp Itang, right on the Sudanese border. At that time, in 1987, there were more that 180 000 inhabitants in the camp...mainly boys and men, only a few women were present. Itang camp also served as the Southern Sudanese Liberation Armys' - SPLAs headquarters and recruitment base. The late Dr. John Garang, leader of SPLA lived in the camp with his troops, and went from there on raids against Karthoum government troops in Sudan. SPLAs presence at Itang was of course not in line with international law and UN regulations, but in reality this was the price UN had to pay in order to have a camp at all. Nor Mengistus' communist regime in Ethiopia, nor UN ever admitted officially that this was the case.

In early 1987 a new refugee influx from Sudan was settling down at Fugnido village on the Ethiopian side of the border, about 100 km from Itang. Circumstances when the first 10 000 people arrived were very dramatic and more of a night mare. Before UN could get organized and set up food deliveries up to 700 persons a day were dying of deseases and hunger in the camp. After the first week these figures came down considerably. I spent one year in Gambella, Itang and Fugnido as a Protection Officer for UNHCR. The experience was an eye-opener in many sences.

Gambella

Gambella

11 photos

Itang camp
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Itang camp

7 photos

Fugnido camp

Fugnido camp

24 photos