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Sudanese in NH seek ways to get supplies and support to loved ones overseas

Speaking at the offices of Victory Women of Vision, an organization that helps local immigrants and refugees, Omgasi Ali (middle) said she has been able to get in contact with family in Sudan sporadically.
Olivia Richardson
Speaking at the Manchester offices of Victory Women of Vision, an organization that helps local immigrants and refugees, Omgasi Ali (middle) said she has been able to get in contact with family in Sudan sporadically.

It’s been difficult for Moiz Mariod to get in contact with family in Sudan. He says sometimes he can go weeks without hearing from anyone. At other times, it’s just a few days.

“For a long time, us as Sudanese, we rely on family help or individual help,” Mariod, who lives in Manchester, says. “The country was never stable, but Sudanese [are] determined to keep it going. Now, everything is out of control.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are currently fleeing Sudan after government military rivals began fighting each other. The situation has disrupted food, water and medical supply lines.

Mariod says people who can flee are going to neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt. However, at this point, some people still inside the capitol, Khartoum, aren’t able to escape, he says. Mariod’s family is outside the capital, but they haven’t been able to make it to another country.

Mariod joined other Sudanese to talk to a reporter at Victory Women of Vision in Manchester. The nonprofit helps immigrants and refugees settle in New Hampshire, and in situations like the conflict in Sudan, the center will help out anyone.

Ahmed Gaber, who came to Manchester from Sudan as a refugee was also in attendance. Gaber says it can be difficult to help. People trying to flee Sudan may fall for scams, he says, especially deceptive tactics that ask for cash to buy new passports or ways out of the country. Those people may then ask for that cash from family that want to help in states like New Hampshire, getting them caught up in a scam, too.

“It is really bad,” Gaber says. “People pay a lot of prices. People suffer, [they] contacted us asking for support. We hear them, their kids crying. They ask for a meal, they ask for water, and we are here, cannot do anything.”

Gaber says that banks and financial services like MoneyGram or Western Union have been shut down in Sudan, leaving no means for families here in the states to send money to loved ones.

He says that the best course of action is to send money and resources through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They’re in a better position to reach organizations on the ground in Sudan who are helping people escape.

Omgasi Ali, from Darfur in West Sudan, came to New Hampshire in 2011. Ali says she’s worried the conflict is creating a health crisis — as loved ones have been cut off from medical supplies.

“Through a lot of suffering, they have run out of everything – shortage of food, shortage of their basic needs,” Ali says. “They don't have that stuff right now.”

She says people who need kidney medication may not be able to get it, which could be fatal.

At the Victory Women of Vision, Mariod, Gaber and Ali say they are beginning efforts to collect food, clothing and supplies that can be shipped to people in Sudan, or to the neighboring countries where Sudanese are seeking refuge.

Olivia joins us from WLVR/Lehigh Valley Public Media, where she covered the Easton area in eastern Pennsylvania. She has also reported for WUWM in Milwaukee and WBEZ in Chicago.
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