Monday, June 25, 2007

A ‘Painful Way to Die’

Of the many people I’ve met here [in Congo], one I can’t get out of my mind is Cecilie Nyirahabinana, a young woman with a shrinking family. A few years ago, fighting led to famine and her two oldest children died. Her youngest, Anita, was still a baby and survived on Cecilie’s breast milk. Then a couple of months ago, soldiers shot her husband dead. Since then, Cecilie has had nothing to feed Anita but green leaves. So Anita is now skeletal and barely able to move, having slowly starved for months. Aya Schneerson, who runs the World Food Program office in the area, explained what Anita is going through: “These kids are in constant pain,” she said. “It’s a very painful way to die.” And the way things are going, hundreds of thousands more will die that way.
-- Nicholas Kristof

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