From Sudan, a New Wave of Lost Boys
Thousands of unaccompanied children are streaming out of an isolated, rebellious region of Sudan, fleeing a relentless aerial assault and the prospect of famine.
Haidar Musa, 14, recently trudged into a refugee camp in South Sudan with eight other boys in shredded clothes fleeing the violence in the Nuba Mountains. More Photos »
Sent by their parents on harrowing odysseys across battlefields and malaria-infested swamps, the children are repeating one of the most sordid chapters of Sudanese history: the perilous flight of the so-called Lost Boys during the civil war in the 1990s, who wandered hundreds of miles dodging militias, bombers and lions.
Now, a new generation of Lost Boys, and some Lost Girls, too, is emerging from a war that, despite a peace agreement, has never completely ended.
Haidar Musa, 14, recently trudged into the muddy, mushrooming refugee camp here in Yida, which is growing by 1,000 people a day, turning a lush green jungle into a squalid sea of white United Nations tarps. With him were eight other boys with shredded clothes and bellies full of grass, their only sustenance for several days.
They stood barefoot in the dirt, eagerly watching an enormous vat of beans come to a boil, ready for a real meal and a new home: a crushed cardboard box to sleep on, in a rat-infested hut.
“We don’t talk about our parents anymore,” Haidar said, fumbling with the broken buttons of a donated shirt. “Even if we go back, we won’t find anybody.