,Program Reunites S. Sudanese Separated During War

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN Tens of thousands of civilians who fled the South Sudanese city of Malakal during fighting that broke out in 2013 are slowly returning home.

The town still bears scars from South Sudan’s five years of conflict. Bullet holes litter the walls of the buildings that remain standing. People are starting new businesses in the wrecked shells of shops.

Besides restoring the town, residents are trying to rebuild their families and locate people who disappeared during the war. The International Committee of the Red Cross is helping them out with its tracing program.

Relatives eager to find news about lost loved ones often stand in line at the ICRC snapshot centers to have their photos taken, or to identify relatives from the photos snapped at U.N. protection-of-civilian sites across the country.

Search for a brother

Last year, the ICRC, with help from the South Sudan Red Cross, reunited 68 people who had been separated from their families during the conflict.

NyadelUdongJak, 36, was separated from her brother in 2014 in Luakat village and returned to Malakal from Khartoum last month.

“Until now, I don’t know his whereabouts, only to hear recently that he is in Akob and he is fishing at the riverbank. That is why I have come to look for him,” Jak told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

NyachangjwokUnak, 30, returned to Malakal about two months ago to find her two children, Sarah and Bullish. Unak said she lost track of them when the fighting erupted in 2013, when the kids were just 4 and 7 years old.

Unak said she could not contain her joy when she learned her children had made it out of Malakal alive.

“When the war started in Malakal at around 7 a.m., there was bombing and shelling and everybody was frightened. While I was collecting some belongings to flee with, I found that my children had fled with other people to the unknown location. I was sad and thought I would never find them, but I was praying to God to reunite me with them. And when I got them back, I was very happy and excited,” Unak told VOA.

Search for a brother

Last year, the ICRC, with help from the South Sudan Red Cross, reunited 68 people who had been separated from their families during the conflict.

NyadelUdongJak, 36, was separated from her brother in 2014 in Luakat village and returned to Malakal from Khartoum last month.

“Until now, I don’t know his whereabouts, only to hear recently that he is in Akob and he is fishing at the riverbank. That is why I have come to look for him,” Jak told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

NyachangjwokUnak, 30, returned to Malakal about two months ago to find her two children, Sarah and Bullish. Unak said she lost track of them when the fighting erupted in 2013, when the kids were just 4 and 7 years old.

Unak said she could not contain her joy when she learned her children had made it out of Malakal alive.

“When the war started in Malakal at around 7 a.m., there was bombing and shelling and everybody was frightened. While I was collecting some belongings to flee with, I found that my children had fled with other people to the unknown location. I was sad and thought I would never find them, but I was praying to God to reunite me with them. And when I got them back, I was very happy and excited,” Unak told VOA.

Source: Voice of America