Hacking Hunger Episode #19: 24 Hours on the Border of War

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Hacking Hunger
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Podcast Summary

As conflict rages in neighboring South Sudan, Uganda’s leaders — many of them former refugees themselves — are welcoming thousands of people seeking refuge from the violence with food and opportunity. WFP USA's M.J. Altman talks to WFP USA’s Erin Cochran about her recent trip to Uganda and how aid workers responded when an entire village in South Sudan fled for the border one night following a brutal attack by government forces.

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Meet our guests

Erin Cochran

As Erin Cochran, head of World Food Program USA’s communications team, was sitting down to eat dinner during a film mission to Uganda last month, local WFP colleagues at the table learned that a village called Pujok in neighboring South Sudan had just been attacked by government forces.

“Several thousand people fled for their lives and fled for the border. You have a case where mothers and fathers, grandparents, children, grabbed whoever was next to them and ran, with the clothes on their back. When they crossed the Ugandan border, no one was waiting for them, because no one thought this was going to happen.” — Erin Cochran

Stella Mavenjina

Stella Mavenjina, a WFP staffer from Uganda, was one of the first on the scene to provide assistance to families fleeing the attack in Pujok.

“In the morning for breakfast, when the kitchen is up and running, they take a porridge in the morning. Then they have this maize meal that we call ugali with beans, for lunch and dinner. And they survive like this ideally for three days, maximum of a week or two, and then they go to their own plots of land where we give them their food and then they’ll do their individual cooking. They’ll try to live a normal life.” — Stella Mavenjina