Washed away by the water

Washed away by the water

Publication info


To meet 25-year-old Regina Kumara you would think she was like any other young woman her age – happily playing with her young daughter Paska. You would have no idea that just over three months ago massive tragedy and disaster visited her and her family.

It was around six o’clock in the afternoon on the 11th July when Regina came back from a day working in her fields, on arriving home she found everyone - except her disabled husband and elderly mother in law Karleta – gone.

Her husband told her that armed men had come to their village earlier that afternoon. Her six older children had managed to escape with friends during the chaos, but her husband, who had his left leg blown off by a landmine in 2013 and elderly Karleta hadn’t been able to move. Regina decided to stay with them in their home rather than go join her children and neighbours in the bush.

Later that night armed men came back to the home and ordered the remaining family to get out of the house. Regina struggled to help her husband as the men shouted and beat them and then watched as they looted and set her home on fire, beating her with the burning thatch as they did so. The scars from this, newly healed, still cover her arms. “They ordered us to come out or we would be shot and burnt inside the house,” recalls Regina, “so I carried my husband out and they burnt it.”

But even after this Regina’s ordeal was not over. She still had no news of her children who had fled to the bush with their friends. She put out word amongst local communities to help search for them. Soon the news came back that the last time they had been seen was trying to cross the nearby Kinaite river to safety. After three days of searching their bodies were found washed up down river. At this point in the story grandmother Karleta interjects; “they were washed away by the water.”

Regina is one of around 700 households in the Enyif area of Torit in Eastern Equatoria who has received relief items including kitchen items, blankets, mats, tarpaulin, jerry cans and soap from CARE after they lost their possessions in the July fighting that overran the previously peaceful town.

Many residents of Torit town are now struggling to survive. As Regina says; “we have nothing,” says Regina, “These items we are receiving now we will take under the tree as we no longer have a home and at the moment we don’t even have a saucepan for cooking,” she adds.

The family are now getting by by exchanging their used clothes for sorghum and selling charcoal in the market. “we survive by borrowing and we can stay two, three days without food…. my biggest worry is food – food is life,” says Regina.

CARE is also planning to reach affected communities in the area with distributions of seeds and tools so they can replant and cultivate crops that were lost or abandoned during the fighting, and is setting up a ‘Cash for Work’ programme where some of the most vulnerable can earn money to support their families through community works.