* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Ayak, her sister and children had just reached Lakes State and were living under a makeshift plastic sheet. They had arrived in Awerial County a few days earlier, fleeing the violence in neighbouring Jonglei State. Amer, Ayak’s seven year old niece lay unmoving with her arm over her eyes.
“We were hiding in the bush for some time and there, she [Amer] got sick – it is swamp and there are many mosquitos so we treated her for malaria in Bor town before we came here. This is her second bout” Said Ayak, Amer’s aunt.
The port town of Mingkaman, with its small population, is now hosting some 80 000 people who fled the fighting in Jonglei’s Bor, Twic and Duk Counties.
Uprooted from their homes with what they could carry, hundreds of people hid in the bush; walked for kilometres and took boats to reach a safe place. Since the conflict began, transportation costs have skyrocketed and people traded the majority of their belongings to pay passage across the River Nile.