Israelis sent to aid South Sudanese refugees tell their stories

Two former IDF combat soldiers were sent to the world's largest refugee camp in South Sudan as representatives of an Israeli NGO called iAid. They now say providing assistance required them to use skills learned in the army.
Photo credit: Yiftach Shavit, iAid/Channel 2 News

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has forced more than eight million men, women and children to flee to the southern border with Uganda. They have very little food and many of them are sick or badly injured. Recently, an Israeli organization called iAid sent two representatives to provide assistance in what has become the world's largest refugee camp.

Yiftach and Guy, who both served in one of the IDF's elite combat units, were sent to assess the situation in the war-torn country and find out how exactly they can be of help. Despite the preparations they went through, they say it took them a couple of days to figure out the rules within the chaos.

"We met with a government officer who's in charge of the camps," they recount, "and the guy just flat out asks us for bribe. We tried to refuse politely and he said, 'If you don't give it, you're out of here. You'll be in big trouble.'"

Screen capture: Channel 2 News

The two Israelis say they had to implement skills they had learned in the army, like navigating through local villages in order to arrange for trucks to carry food to the camps.

"They get very minimal portions of food that are barely enough to keep them alive," Yiftach says. "We met women with babies and no husbands, they had to build their own tents and stand in line for food in the heat for hours, while breastfeeding their babies."

The two Israelis say they had to implement skills they had learned in the army, like navigating through local villages in order to arrange for trucks to carry food to the camps.

"They get very minimal portions of food that are barely enough to keep them alive," Yiftach says. "We met women with babies and no husbands, they had to build their own tents and stand in line for food in the heat for hours, while breastfeeding their babies."



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