JUBA, South Sudan — The hunger season came early this year.
By February, once seen as a time of plenty, Nyabolli Chok had run out of food for her three children in their village here in South Sudan. She knew they had to leave.
“We were eating leaves off of trees,” she said, describing how she boiled them into a watery soup.
“Ron reath,” she said — her words for the hunger season. South Sudan’s dozens of ethnic groups use different names for the months when food becomes scarce until the next harvest. But the fears are the same: malnutrition, disease, even death.
And this year is expected to be the worst yet.