South Sudan: Women, children left behind as men fight

Arek Mjok and her 12-year-old daughter Aluel had walked for two hours to reach the food distribution site.

They were desperately hungry, but waited patiently in the heat to collect their rations of rye, sorghum and oil.

There's a crisis in Northern Bahr Ghazal in South Sudan because fighting has cut off supply routes, drought has killed crops and soaring inflation makes buying imported goods too expensive for most.

It's a region on the brink of famine.

Arek and the rest of her family are considering crossing the border into Sudan to search for food.

Such a journey is extremely dangerous. But 2,800 people are fleeing South Sudan every day, seeking safety in neighbouring countries.

The hardship ensured by Arek's family and so many others here is unimaginable, but I was amazed at the resilience of the people, especially the women.

As men join the fight or simply abandon their families, women are often left to care for the family alone.

In times of desperation, children are expected to step up too.

Aluel should be at school. But today she's helping her mother lug precious supplies back to the rest of the family.

The food they collect won't be enough to sustain the entire family, but Arek told me it'll ensure they live to see tomorrow.

Michael Morrah travelled to East Africa with assistance from World Vision. Click here to donate to the East Africa Hunger Crisis campaign.