Windsor's Sudanese community fearful for loved ones living in South Sudan

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Windsor's Sudanese community fearful for loved ones living in South Sudan

Windsor's Sudanese community fearful for loved ones living in South Sudan

Windsor's Sudanese community is coming together to send money and resources to loved ones overseas who are struggling to survive a devastating famine in South Sudan. 

Farida Taban's entire family is back in South Sudan. Her father is blind and her mother is sick so Taban does what she can and sends them more than $300 per month. 

"My family depends on me 100 per cent… It is a ton of pressure," said Taban. "You have to send for medication, rent, food, everything. You feel bad. You have a good life here."

Taban said she has a hard time picking up the phone when her family calls because she is nervous they will be calling with bad news. 

She isn't the only Windsor resident worrying about their family. Ruot Biel has parents and siblings struggling in impoverished South Sudan as well.

Biel wishes he would have seen this famine coming. If he had, he would have put off buying a house in Windsor so he would have more money on hand to send to his family overseas.

"I am so anxious and nervous about it," he said. "Almost everyday we get a call, 'x' has passed away, some of them are dying of hunger or a disease that should not kill a person, some of them may be cross fired."

Like Taban, Biel sends money to his family every month. He says Sudanese citizens who have family members living in other countries are the lucky ones.

Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, according to an announcement by the South Sudan government and three UN agencies. Officials say the calamity is the result of prolonged civil war and an entrenched economic crisis that has devastated the war-torn East African Nation.

Father Nichola Mauro Iko is the priest at St. Alphonsus parish in Windsor. He says there is a large population of Sudanese people living in this area and many of them are directly impacted.

"We all hear about the suffering, ranging from either the families being displaced, from the situation of families being killed either by cross fire or by the hunger situation," said Mauro Iko.

The church recently held a fundraiser to raise money for those suffering in parts of the Sudan.